DA LAT, VIETNAM – This month a series of events and important workshops were hosted in Da Lat city in the Central Highland province of Lam Dong, Vietnam to mark the first Vietnam Coffee Day on 10 December. The launch of this new annual day symbolizes the great contributions made by the coffee industry to Vietnam’s development.
Today Vietnamese coffee is known, but its brand is not as strong it should be. By improving its quality and brand image, Vietnam can command premiums and increase the value of the crop.
As a key stakeholder in the ongoing development of the country’s coffee industry, the Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture in Vietnam (PSAV) Secretariat was invited to join the discussions for Vietnam Coffee Day. I took part in two important workshops which will help move the focus from quantity to quality, and increase the strength of the Vietnamese coffee brand.
The first event began with a workshop on “The new development period of the Vietnam coffee industry”, chaired by HE Minister of the Ministry of Agricultural Rural Development (MARD) and the Director of International Coffee Organisation (ICO). More than 120 delegates participated. Coffee experts shared a number of presentations, revealing that although the sector is facing several problems such as low production, ageing coffee trees, poor quality control and outdated processing technologies, the coffee sector in Vietnam has the potential to improve and develop.
Globally, the coffee-based beverage market is worth US$500 billion a year, with Vietnam’s exports accounting for just $3.4 billion. There is significant room for the country to increase exports. All participants agreed that to retain Vietnam’s position as the second largest coffee producer and exporter, the sector must implement comprehensive measures such as enhancing coffee replanting programmes, conducting research to develop new high-quality seedlings, investing more in roasted, ground and soluble coffee, building brands for Vietnamese coffee and speeding up trade promotion activities in the local and foreign markets. HE Minister shared that “the coffee sector will not expand the area under cultivation until 2030, but it will focus on improving value addition and productivity and linkages in the value chain and enhancing processing”. This insight is very important for coffee stakeholders to ensure we are aware of the long-term coffee development strategy, and PSAV can align our own plans and task force programs.
Celebrating PSAV’s success as a partnership platform
The second workshop focused on learning and sharing the achievements of PSAV’s public-private partnerships (PPP) model for sustainable coffee production. The Deputy Minister acknowledged that the MARD has supported PSAV with successful PPP programs for seven different crops in the last few years. He highlighted that the success is partly due to the active participation of businesses in all stages of the value chain, which helps ensure the country is integrating with the global value chain. He recognized that PPP models are the recipe for sustainable farming, and they will help Vietnam restructure its agriculture sector for the better. PSAV’s Coffee Task Force is a successful PPP model to refer to by helping improve the crop’s quality and productivity, increasing smallholder farmers’ incomes and enabling the sector to produce more coffee which meets international standards for export.
The event also featured a coffee exhibition and a field visit to a coffee farm. The exhibition contained around 30 pavilions, showcasing many kinds of coffee products from the Central Highland and northern mountainous provinces, as well as enterprises from around Vietnam. Visitors had the chance to taste and make the highest quality coffee. The field trip showcased coffee cooperatives and provided participants with a chance to learn how they are implementing a PPP model which is supported by PSAV.
The first National Coffee Day was well organized and helped coffee stakeholders learn about the future Vietnamese coffee development strategy. The event also provided Vietnamese localities and businesses with the opportunity to promote their products to domestic and international consumers, thereby raising the value of Vietnamese goods in the international market.