Coffee growers receive support for effective water resource management

Coffee farming households in five Vietnamese Central Highland provinces have recently benefitted from the project ‘More coffee with less water- towards a reduction of the blue water footprint in coffee production’.

The project is funded by Nestlé Corporation and the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC), with support from German EDE Consulting and many other local partners, including the Western Highlands Agriculture and Forestry Sciences Institute (WASI).

After a period of survey and test implementation, the project was officially kicked off in April this year and will run through to 2019.

The overall goal of the project-valued two million euros in the total funding- is to ensure equitable and sufficient water availability for all water users in Vietnam’s Central Highlands and to obtain pivotal water savings through improved irrigation management in the coffee sector.

Also, the project aims to reach out to a critical mass of farmers, and hence to improve people's livelihoods in socio-economic terms and to protect the environment.

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Valuable lessons learned of the project will feed into a global dialogue on influencing and implementing water policies for agriculture.

Under the project, 50,000 of the poorer and marginalized coffee farming households with limited access to know-how in the stakeholder provinces will receive training on Good Agricultural Practices including water management.

As planned, 30 trainers and 2,000 coffee farmers will receive training and six demonstration models established right this year gearing towards coffee sustainable production through the application of effective water resource management models in each locality in the project site.

Do Thanh Chung, country director (Vietnam) of EDE Consulting said, “Through Nestlé funding and the experiences from our ongoing NESCAFE Plan on coffee sustainable development, we expect to lend a helping hand to raise the general awareness about how to reach optimal water resource usage in coffee production in Vietnam as well as the possible impacts on water sources quality improvement.”

The project success is expected to contribute to boosting the coffee yields and minimising the environmental impact and the quantity of water needed for production. Notably, the project could help coffee farmers reduce the water they use from 700 litres to 400 litres per tree.

Vietnam, the second largest coffee producer in the world behind Brazil, has created jobs for 2.6 million local workers in the sector. Meanwhile, the Central Highlands accounts for more than 95% of the coffee growing area in the country.

VIR