International alliance wakes up Vietnamese coffee growers

10:34 | 10/01/2019 Society

(VEN) - Better Life Farming, an alliance of leading private sector companies created to develop sustainable and scalable business models to improve the livelihood of smallholder coffee farmers, was launched in Vietnam this month.

international alliance wakes up vietnamese coffee growers
Bayer Vietnam General Director Kohei Sakata speaks at a workshop

The global alliance was created by Bayer, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Netafim, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, and Vietnam’s Khang Thinh Irrigation Technology JSC and ACOM.

By connecting global expertise with local insights and partners, Better Life Farming offers advanced agricultural practices, seeds, precision irrigation, crop protection, finance, insurance, digital technologies, and access to markets, each customized to fully address smallholders’ needs at scale. In Vietnam, 80 percent of coffee is grown by smallholders, who are particularly vulnerable to existential threats like adverse climate, pests and crop diseases, poor infrastructure, rural migration, fluctuating commodity prices, and regulatory barriers. They also have limited access to modern agricultural practices, advanced technologies, finance and markets.

Colin Taylor, East Asia Pacific Regional Lead for Agribusiness Advisory Services at the IFC, said: “As part of the Better Life Farming alliance, the IFC helps smallholders bridge these gaps through supporting training initiatives, improved financial literacy and access to finance, so they can manage their farm as a business.”

Better Life Farming to support coffee growers has been piloted in Lac Duong and Di Linh districts in Lam Dong Province since the beginning of this year, benefiting 190 farmers with a total of 300 hectares. It has focused on providing knowledge and access to technologies through technical training and application of the Much More Coffee process that helps manage pests, nutrients, and precision irrigation; as well as supporting farmers to access the high-end coffee market at transparent prices.

As a result, output of Arabica coffee in Lac Duong District has increased by 31-33 percent, while Robusta coffee production in Di Linh District has jumped by 17-29 percent.

Laurent Bossolasco, Director for Sustainability Management Services at ACOM Asia, said the participation of ACOM in Better Life Farming aims to provide services and assurance, contributing to improved productivity and incomes for smallholders, reducing financial risks, ending child labors, toxic chemicals and deforestation. ACOM and its partners encourage chain-of-business models to create a shared value.

Ci’l Mup Ha Phang, a farmer in Lac Duong District, Lam Dong Province, said he received support in terms of knowledge and farming methods after participating in the project. In the future, he will invest in the automatic irrigation system.

Tran Van Manh, a farmer in Di Linh District, Lam Dong Province, said that thanks to technical training and application of the Much More Coffee process, his coffee plantation has developed well, resulting in an improved livelihood.

Bayer Vietnam General Director Kohei Sakata said: “Through this initiative, we can see how dedicated and passionate smallholder farmers are working to feed their family, their community as well as the population on a local and global level. As a result, Bayer’s cooperation with smallholder farmers and developing customized solutions can have a real impact on their productivity and support them in their journey to grow their farming business and improve their livelihood.”

The Better Life Farming alliance aims to help ensure safe, nutritious, and affordable food for the growing world

population, advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of ending poverty and hunger, achieving

food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture.

Cam Tu