The nation’s premier coffee growing region has replaced more than a hundred thousand hectares of the crop with other cash crops like cashew and pepper. — Photo caphevietnam.net
ĐẮK LẮK – The nation’s premier coffee growing region has replaced more than a hundred thousand hectares of the crop with other cash crops like cashew and pepper.
Hit hard by drought and market vagaries, the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) provinces of Đắk Lắk, Đắk Noâng, Lâm Đồng and Gia Lai, are trying to shift to more sustainable agriculture.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the region has a total coffee area that is nearly 114,000ha more than the 500,000ha limit targeted for 2020.
During the last dry season, these provinces had over 134,590ha of coffee trees wither away without water. Productivity plunged, and many growers lost their entire crop.
Đắk Lắk suffered the most with 68,780ha of coffee plants withering, and about 5,000ha dying.
The Steering Committee for the Central Highlands region has said that since 2012, provincial administrations have been urging locals to reduce coffee cultivation in order to promote the sector’s sustainable development.
During the coffee boom about 20 years ago, high profits saw local residents illegally destroy forests, including national parks, to grow the crop.
The region’s land use plans were disrupted and there was not enough area left for other crops.
Earlier last month, the steering committee had announced that provinces in the region planned to replace 19,000ha of old coffee trees. Lâm Đồng and Đắk Lắk are to replant 7,313ha and 3,479ha respectively during this rainy season.
A coffee replanting project envisions that from 2014 to 2020, the region will replant 120,000ha of coffee gardens and plantations, including 45,600ha in Lâm Đồng and 30,000ha in Đắk Lắk.
The Central Highlands is the largest coffee producing region in Việt Nam, accounting for nearly 95 per cent of the country’s coffee area and 99 per cent of its output.
According to MARD, Việt Nam exported 1.27 million tonnes of coffee worth US$2.25 billion in the first eight months of this year, a year on year increase 40 per cent in volume and 20.7 per cent in value. -- VNS