|Farmers harvest coffee in Gia Lai Province. - VNA/VNS Photo Hoài Nam|
HCM CITY – The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Gia Lai is providing free coffee seedlings and farming techniques for farmers in an effort to replace old, unproductive coffee trees.
Gia Lai, which is one of the country’s largest coffee producers, has about 94,000ha of coffee trees.
Of the figure, trees on 14,000ha are old and need to be replaced by 2020, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In 2015-17, the province has replaced more than 6,000ha of old coffee trees with new trees.
This year, the province has replanted nearly 2,000ha, meeting nearly 90 per cent of its target of 2,300ha for the year.
To reach its goal, the department has provided free TR4, TR9 and TRS1 seedling varieties to farmers.
Nguyễn Thị Thúy Lan from Chư Prông District’s Ia Drăng Commune said she had received new seedlings to replace her coffee trees that were planted 20 years ago.
Nguyễn Văn Gặp, head of the Chư Prông District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said the district targeted replacing 2,000 ha of old coffee trees by 2020.
Of the target, 400ha would be replanted with new trees this year, he said.
Local farmers had registered to replant 481ha of coffee so far this year, up 30 per cent against this year’s plan, he said.
Under the province’s programme to replace old trees, several companies are working with farmers to produce organic coffee.
The Gia Lai – based Vĩnh Hiệp Company Limited, for instance, is working with 4,000 farmers to plant 5,000ha of organic coffee in Đăk Đoa, Chư Sê, Chư Prông and Ia Grai districts.
Hà Ngọc Uyển, head of the province’s Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department, said the replanting of old coffee in the province would reach a total of about 8,500ha this year.
Over the past three years, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in cooperation with agencies has provided farming techniques to more than 4,500 farmers, including 1,800 ethnic minority farmers.
The province has also established 14 coffee cultivation models for farmers to visit, and is setting up 18 other coffee farming models and 15 model coffee orchards.
To improve farmers’ incomes, the province is also encouraging farmers to intercrop fruit and other industrial trees in replanted coffee orchards.
Farmers have intercropped fruits and other industrial trees in more than 4,200ha of coffee. The intercropped plants are durian, avocado, jack fruit, mango, rambutan, pepper and cashew.
The intercropping provides shade and wind shields for coffee trees and prevents water evaporation in the soil, helping coffee trees to develop well, according to agricultural experts.
Phạm Ngọc Cơ, head of the Mang Yang District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said intercropping helped farmers have more income when coffee prices are low. — VNS