About 4 million coffee seedlings will be provided to Central Highlands farmers to replace aging trees in 2015 through cooperation between the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute (WASI), the Nestlé Vietnam Co. Ltd, and the Nescafé Plan project.

Nestlé will support 50 percent of the seedling purchase expenses, said WASI Director Le Ngoc Bau.

From 2011 to 2014, the WASI and Nestlé worked together to distribute over 11 million coffee seedlings to tens of thousands of low-income farmers in the Central Highlands, he noted.

Bau noted that the Nescafé Plan has been assisting local farmers to plant new coffee varieties that can generate up to 7 tonnes of beans per hectare.

Over 20 percent of the region’s coffee area feature 20-year-old trees or above, at which point the trees lose half their yield potential. About 140,000-150,000 hectares of old trees will need to be replaced with new seedlings in the next decade.

The Nescafé Plan has also provided cultivation technique training, raising the number of farmers adopting the international 4C (Common Code for the Coffee Community) standards for sustainable production and trading up to 13,800 in 2014 from 1,745 in 2011.

The Central Highlands is now home to more than 90 percent of Vietnam’s 635,000 hectares of coffee trees. The region generates 2.3-2.5 tonnes of beans every hectare and more than 1.5 million tonnes of beans every crop; a productivity that is currently 2.5-3 times higher than the global average, Bau told the Vietnam News Agency in a separate report.

In 2014, Vietnam exported more than 1.7 million tonnes of coffee beans worth over 3.4 billion USD, ranking second in terms of national export values after rice.-VNA