The Prime Minister has approved a loan programme by the State Bank of Vietnam for replanting coffee trees in the Central Highlands in 2014–20.

He also instructed the central bank to co-ordinate with relevant agencies to carry out the loan programme and ensure it is a success.

The Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and Industry and Trade and the provincial authorities of Lam Dong, Kon Tum, Dak Nong, Dak Lak, and Gia Lai have been ordered to work with the bank to facilitate the implementation the programme by providing coffee growers farming know-how and promoting their products.

They were also instructed to help farmers easily get access to the loans.

According to the Department of Cultivation, coffee is cultivated in 22 provinces and cities across the country, with five major areas being the Central Highlands, the south-east, the southern and northern parts of the Central Region, and the middle part of the northern region.

At the end of 2014, 641,000ha were under coffee, but on 15 percent of it the trees were over 20 years old, and on 25 percent they were 15-20 years old.

Some 140,000-160,000ha of coffee trees are aged and need to be replanted or replaced by other crops in the next 45 years.

Vietnam's annual coffee exports exceed 3 billion USD, and over 500,000 households and more than 1.6 million workers depend on the crop for a living.

Coffee has also contributed to the socio-economic development of the Central Highlands and a number of other localities around the country.-VNA