Vietnam, the top producer of Robusta, increased irrigation amid the shortage of rain affecting coffee yield

Vietnam, the top producer of Robusta, increased irrigation amid the shortage of rain affecting coffee yield

May 06 - 2024

Coffee Geography Magazine

D.L. Gemeda

Vietnam, the top supplier of coffee robusta, is affected by lack of rain that reduces the production. The farmers have now increased the use of irrigation system to wet the dry soil. Despite the extra cost to use the irrigation system for fuel, the option is clear and vital to meet the demand and not lose clients. Farmers who use irrigation increased by 50% for the last few months to stay in business which otherwise face severe consequences as the climate change on coffee fields becomes quite discernible. There is even more fear along the way as water wells are drying out fast to saturate the vast coffee farms before the flowering season.

Vietnam map

An intense heatwave is sweeping through Southeast Asia, and maximum temperatures measured in several parts of northern and central Vietnam ranged from 40.2 to 44.0 degrees Celsius (104-111°F), the country's national weather agency said on Sunday, adding that temperatures will not subside until Wednesday. 

The latest price hike in coffee is caused mainly by the Vietnam’s weather condition out of fear by the traders that the demand might not be fulfilled as projected in their contracts. Indonesia is also hurt by the heat wave affecting their coffee production, blaming the climate change for its course to have the anticipated impact in the world’s coffee supply chain, Rain is expected in mid May to give a sign of relief to farmers and reverse the situation before it caused a severe damage to the global coffee industry.

Coffee production has been a major source of income for Vietnam since the early 20th century. First introduced by the French in 1857, the Vietnamese coffee industry developed through the plantation system, becoming a major economic force in the country. After an interruption during and immediately following the Vietnam War, production rose once again after Đổi mới economic reforms, making coffee second only to rice in value of agricultural products exported from Vietnam. 

It is believed that the coffee plant was first introduced to Vietnam in 1857 by French missionaries, but the first coffee plantations were only set up in 1888 at the Ninh Bình and Quảng Bình provinces of Tonkin. Early coffee production was mainly of the Arabica variety. 

Vietnam is the second largest producer in the world after Brazil, with Robusta coffee accounting to 97 per cent of Vietnam's total output. However, coffee farmers in Vietnam have always experienced cycles of boom and bust since the 1980s, making the industry a highly volatile one.