Over 19,000 coffee growers in the Central Highlands have received assistance in the form of seedlings and training to renew their old plantations under the Nescafe Plan that was launched in 2011.

The project, a joint effort between the Western Highlands of Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute (WASI) and the Nestle Vietnam, has offered nearly 6.9 million coffee seedlings at half of their original prices to 19,000 farmers in the provinces of Lam Dong, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Gia Lai to replace old trees in their plantations.

Also during the same period, around 21,000 farmers have received training in the 4C international standard, a baseline for sustainability in the coffee sector.

By the end of this year, 3,000 more farmers in major coffee growing areas will undergo training under the project.

WASI Director Le Ngoc Bau said the project will accelerate the replacement of outdated coffee trees in the region with new varieties which have an average yield of seven tonnes of beans per ha, nearly double the current average.

According to the Vietnam Coffee-Cocoa Association (VICOFA), Vietnam now has over 622,000ha of coffee, mostly in the Central Highlands that yields some 1.4 million tonnes of beans each year. The acreage of coffee trees aged over 20 years that need to be replaced is about 86,000ha, and the figure will increase to 140,000 – 160,000ha in the next 5-10 years.

Vietnamese coffee has been shipped to over 80 countries and regions worldwide. Germany and the United States remain Vietnam's largest coffee importers with 14 and 11 percent of market shares, respectively.-VNA