The Tay Nguyen Agriculture and Forestry Science and Technical Institute has developed 21 new coffee tree varieties that are disease resistant and have high yields.

The new varieties —11 Robusta and 10 Arabica variations — are highly resistant to coffee rust disease caused by the Hemileia vastatrix fungus, which is the devastating disease of coffee plants. Among them, the 11 Robusta variations and two Arabica variations have been certified by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The certified Robusta coffee varieties have an average yield of 4.5-7 tonnes per hectare.

The 10 new Arabica coffee varieties have an average yield of 4-5 tonnes per hectare.

The institute is working with Central Highlands provinces to establish nurseries with a capacity of supplying more than 4 million grafted seedlings a year.

The seedlings will help farmers and enterprises replace 10,000 ha of old Robusta coffee trees whose yields have dropped.

The grafted coffee plants will have a yield of 20-25 kg of beans per tree a year, 10-15 kg higher than that of old coffee varieties, the institute says.

New coffee trees will bear fruit after three years, compared to the five years taken by coffee plants grown from seeds.

Vietnam had more than 622,000ha of coffee with an average yield of 2.35 tonnes per hectare at the end of last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Central Highlands region on its own has about 550,000 ha of coffee plantations and gardens.

The country has an estimated 86,000 ha of coffee plants that are more than 20 years old.

The ministry estimates the area of old coffee plants that need to be replaced in the next five to 10 years at between 140,000 and 160,000ha.-VNA