Illustrative image (Source: VNA) 
Dak Nong (VNA) – The Central Highlands province of Dak Nong is providing better access to loans and training courses to farmers in an aim to increase productivity and quality of coffee farms.

Le Trong Yen, Director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said authorities would help farmers understand the importance of sapling quality and provide information about sources of capital.

Farmers will also be taught how to make adjustments to ensure the sustainable cultivation of coffee trees.

Most of the farmers have been taking part in a coffee replantation programme begun in 2012.

To help them access loans, the province will simplify paperwork procedures.

It will also ensure the quality of seed strains and fertilisers, and offer training courses so farmers can raise the output and quality of coffee.

Buds from old, but still good, coffee trees will be grafted on to other trees to increase yields.

Dak Nong has more than 125,000 hectares of coffee. Of the total area, commercial coffee farms account for 113,000ha, at an average productivity of 2.2 tonnes per ha and annual yield of 250,000 tonnes of coffee, according to the department.

In 2012, the province kicked off the programme to grow new coffee strains with higher productivity and higher quality.

The aim was to replace old, stunted coffee trees. By the end of last year, the area of new coffee trees that had replaced old ones had increased by 8,000ha.

Since 2012, farmers have invested capital to plant 4,450ha of coffee trees, and the local government has provided funds to farmers to plant saplings in the remaining area.

At the same time, owners have grafted buds from old coffee trees on an area totalling about 1,000ha.

Nguyen Van Chuong, deputy director of the province’s sub-department of plant protection, said many new coffee farms had begun to develop harvests with a high yield. However, the programme has been carried out slowly.

Demand for coffee seedlings is high, but the province does not have a certified coffee nursery.

Along with the lack of coffee seedlings, farmers have found it difficult to borrow money from local banks.

As of February, farmers in the programme had received a total of only 38 billion VND (1.7 million USD) from the Dak Nong branch of the Vietnam Agriculture and Rural Development Bank.

About 30 percent of the province’s old coffee trees have been cut down and replaced under the programme.

By 2020, Dak Nong aims to have a total of 30,000ha of new trees. Of the total figure, old trees will be replaced with new ones on 20,500ha, while bud grafting on old trees will be done on the remaining 9,500ha.-VNA