Around 19,000 coffee farmers in Vietnam have adopted the international 4C (Common Code for Coffee Community) standards for sustainable production and trading with assistance from authorities and food giant Nestle.

The number is up 51 percent year-on-year, according to a report on their programme dubbed NESCAFE Plan by Nestle Vietnam and Western Highlands Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute.

In the last three years, they have organised 923 training courses for farmers in Dak Lak, Dak Nong, and Lam Dong provinces in modern methods to lower their costs and improve their skills.

The programme has also offered technical assistance to 31,000 farmers.

Le Quang Dung, a coffee farmer in Dak Nong province's Dak Wer commune, said by taking part in the programme and training courses, farmers like him have progressively improved their practices so that they can grow produce meeting international standards.

Around 20,000 hectares have been certified as adopting 4C standards, twice last year's figure under the programme.

These standards have enabled Vietnamese farmers to sell their coffee at higher prices in the world market.
The standards, developed by the Germany-based 4C Association, are a set of social, environmental, and economic principles that farmers must comply with to progressively improve sustainability.

Compliance helps them also increase output and protect the environment.

Coffee is one of Vietnam's key agricultural exports, with 90 per cent of the output being shipped abroad, according to the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association. The country exported 1.66 million tonnes of coffee for 3.4 billion USD this year, an increase of 17.2 percent in volume and 12.5 percent in value.-VNA