CADA: A century of Vietnamese coffee

09:08 | 02/04/2017 Trade

(VEN) - The Central Highlands in general and Dak Lak Province in particular, are known as the biggest coffee producers in Vietnam. The region’s coffee history is attached to CADA - the first coffee plantation in the Central Highlands established 100 years ago.  

Visiting the CADA Plantation exhibition at the Dak Lak Province Museum

The cradle of coffee

Nguyen Van Minh, deputy general director of the Vietnam National Coffee Corporation, explains that coffee in Dak Lak Province was first planted on an area of several dozen hectares by the Compagnie Agricole D’asie (CADA), the Asian Agriculture Company in 1916 or 1917, yielding a small crop.

In 1931, an additional 26 plantations were established on a total area of 2,130ha. The CADA Plantation alone covered 1,000ha of land. Robusta coffee accounted for 30 percent, while Arabica coffee represented 70 percent of the total. Robusta coffee developed very well to exceed Arabica coffee in terms of cultivation areas in the following years.

The coffee growing area in Dak Lak increased to 8,600ha, providing an output of more than 11,000 tonnes, in 1975, most of which was Robusta coffee. The Ban Me Thuot (now Buon Ma Thuot) coffee products of Dak Lak were exported to many countries and territories worldwide and attracted coffee gourmets due to its special taste and quality.

Coffee cultivation and processing techniques and sales in the region have improved remarkably since the 1990s.
Coffee is now planted throughout the Central Highlands and has become a spearhead industry of the Central Highlands. As Vietnam’s biggest coffee production center, the Central Highlands has contributed to the country’s ranking as the second largest coffee exporter in the world.

Historical value

The road to that achievement was strewn with upheavals.

Ho Sy Trung, director of the Phuoc An Coffee Company, says that after the end of the American war, the company took over 400ha of coffee from the CADA Plantation. It then expanded the area to more than 1,000ha, but in the wake of various mergers and acquisitions (M&A), Phuoc An’s coffee area shrank to 400ha. The company took over all of CADA’s workspaces and Phuoc An has since re-cultivated all of its coffee area, applying brand new nurturing techniques.

Within the framework of the 6th Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival and the Central Highlands Gong Culture Festival 2017, held in Dak Lak in March, exhibits pertaining to the CADA Plantation were introduced into the Dak Lak Province Museum.

Tran Hung, director of the Dak Lak Province Relics Authority, said the CADA Plantation was recognized as a national historical relic site in 1998.

Le Cuong