Monday, September 26 2016

VietNamNews

Interest in coffee farming wanes in Highlands

Update: June, 25/2016 - 09:00
A farmer harvests coffee in Chư Pa District in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai. Coffee tree recultivation in the area has made notable progress, but obstacles still remain. – VNA/VNS Photo Sỹ Huynh
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – Coffee tree recultivation in the Central Highlands provinces made notable progress, but a number of obstacles still demand more research and measures, agricultural experts said at a recent conference on the issue.

Huỳnh Quốc Thích, deputy director of the Đắk Lắk Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmers have become more cautious when choosing plants for cultivation because in past years, coffee prices dropped and drought affected crops.

However, Thích said, coffee would remain the main crop of the Central Highlands area, so local authorities should give more guidance to farmers and set up preferential policies for them.

Director of Đắk Lắk Agribank Trần Đình Chánh said the bank was willing to give loans to farmers for recultivation, but the bank attracted few farmers because they were no longer interested in planting coffee crops.

Statistics from Agribank in Central Highlands areas showed that they only had about 5,900 customers borrowing VNĐ758 billion (US$33.9 million) to recultivate more than 9,400ha of coffee, whereas their funds for coffee recultivation in the area reached about VNĐ12-15 trillion ($538-672.6 million).

Thích said that in order to make local farmers more interested in planting coffee, the State should have more supportive policies; for instance, giving them preferential interest rates and technical support.

To reduce obstacles, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) carried out several measures.

Under the ministry’s plan, provinces would create steering committees to provide guidance and technical training on recultivation to farmers. The committee would conduct research and set up a data base for the work.

Information on processes and procedures for borrowing money from banks would be disseminated widely to farmers, the ministry said.

Statistics from the MARD showed that by the end of last year, more than 61,700ha of coffee in the Central Highlands provinces had been recultivated. Most of the areas were in Lâm Đồng and Đắk Lắk provinces.

The Central Highlands provinces planned for about 120,000ha of coffee to be cultivated by 2020. The provinces completed half of the areas needing recultivation as outlined in the schedule. - VNS

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