International coffee companies have agreed to work together to address environmental issues in the Vietnamese coffee sector.
Companies including Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Louis Dreyfus and ACOM, IDH the Sustainable Trade Initiative and the Dutch and Vietnamese governments are to work together to reduce water, fertilizer and pesticides use related to coffee and protect natural forests in coffee production areas in Vietnam. They signed an agreement to do so during a recent Dutch trade mission to Vietnam.
The project has ambitious goals – IDH said that by 2025 deforestation related to coffee will have stopped, water use will be reduced by 25 per cent and coffee farmers’ incomes will have increased by 30 per cent, as a result of the project.
Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee producer. Climate change and recurrent droughts are threatening coffee production. The roll-out of water saving irrigation systems that can also distribute fertilizer and pesticides will significantly reduce inputs and thereby also costs. Inter-cropping and agroforestry will help farmers to preserve the micro climate services favourable to coffee production and protect the forest cover of coffee producing areas in Vietnam.
Steven Collet, Member of the Executive Board of IDH said, “The strength of this programme is that it looks holistically at all the issues related to coffee production, droughts and deforestation in one, as an integrated business driven approach.
“It is developing business driven, practical solutions with all relevant stakeholders together that have benefits for everyone. This means for example working on water saving, inter-cropping and agroforestry with farmers, and looking at alternative incomes for forest dependent communities in the area to avoid further deforestation.”
The so called Production, Protection and Inclusion (PPI) approach is a holistic one that IDH developed and has used elsewhere to help balance economic prosperity with protection of natural resources and inclusion of local communities in decision-making.
The MoU signed for the Vietnamese PPI provides for roll-out of water saving irrigation systems that can also distribute fertilizer and pesticides; restructure service delivery of pesticides, fertilizer and seedlings to farmers; improve agrochemical use for coffee to solve issues of residues; promote agroforestry, improve farmer organizations, coffee quality and market access; and organize alternative livelihoods in fruit trees, pepper and livestock for forest dependent communities.
Duoc Nguyen, Sustainability Manager, Coffee Division, LDC Vietnam, said “The multi-stakeholder approach really makes sense in the coffee sector. Climate change, soil erosion, water scarcity and agrochemicals are big issues where the involvement of governmental and non-governmental organizations is required as well as all of the players of the value chain.”