Looking into causes behind the unsustainable development of coffee at present, participants pointed out that small-scale production prevent farmers from accessing credit to invest in intensive farming, while unsuitable farming techniques, including the abuse of fertilizer and pesticides, reduce soil’s fertility and cause water shortages.
At the same time, natural disasters as a consequence of climate change have caused serious losses to the coffee sector. Last year, drought affected more than 116,000 ha of coffee trees in the country, nearly 7,000 ha of which were completely destroyed.
Many participants agreed on the need for new coffee varieties that are adaptable to unfavourable weather conditions such as drought and unseasonal rain. The Central Highlands provinces need to replace old coffee trees with new varieties on 120,000 hectares.
Other suggestions include expanding the use of water-saving system and intercropping fruit trees or industrial plants and coffee tree, while helping farmer households improve their coffee bean processing capacity.
In 2016, Vietnam had over 640,000 hectares of land under coffee, spanning over 105 districts in 22 provinces. The sector exported nearly 1.8 million tonnes of coffee beans, worth over US$3.36 billion.
The Central Highlands region, comprising of Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, and Lam Dong provinces, has 540,000 hectares of coffee trees, accounting for 84% of the nation’s area.