Vietnam to cut coffee area but keep output stable by 2020

Vietnam, the world’s second-largest coffee producer after Brazil, planned to cut its total coffee acreage by 13.5 per cent to 480,000 hectares (1.19 million acres) while keeping output stable by the end of this decade.

The area would be trimmed from 555,000 hectares, while Vietnam will aim to produce about 1.1 million tonnes, or 18.33 million 60-kg bags, of coffee a year, similar to the output of the 2010/2011 crop.

It cited a development plan to 2020 for the coffee sector approved on Friday at an Agriculture Ministry meeting in Buon Ma Thuot, the capital city of Vietnam’s top coffee growing province of Daklak. Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of robusta beans, used mainly for making soluble coffee.

The plan envisaged replacement of old trees and to reduce planting in the areas that have poor soil or bad irrigation.

“Cutting down trees will be very difficult because farmers would not listen while coffee prices are good,” said a trader in Buon Ma Thuot.

Vietnam’s coffee prices jumped 56 per cent last year from 2009 and have advanced nearly 30 per cent more this year, tracking gains on London robusta futures markers that reach their peak for more than a decade in March.

Vietnam’s new 2011/2012 coffee crop is forecast to produce 22 million bags, up 10 per cent from the current crop after higher prices spurred investment, an analyst at CoffeeNetwork has said.

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