Nestlé creating blueprint for quality coffee development
Given its long-term commitment to Vietnam’s coffee industry, Nestlé Vietnam is continuously driving initiatives to bring a positive impact on the lives of Vietnamese coffee farmers.
Despite being the world’s largest robusta coffee nation, Vietnamese coffee is facing several problems that cast adverse impacts on the segment’s long-term development. The quality of Vietnamese coffee is still limited as most coffee farmers plant and harvest by following traditional methods without the application of modern science and technology. Also, ageing coffee areas have also affected coffee output and quality.
In 2010, the Nescafé Plan was launched by Nestlé. It has been proactive in presenting solutions as well as deploying concrete activities to support the sustainable development of the Vietnamese coffee industry. After a nearly a decade, the plan has made significant contributions towards developing Vietnam’s coffee sector towards self-sufficiency in coffee and improved chain links, as well as raising the value of Vietnamese coffee beans. Together with Brazil, the Nescafé Plan in Vietnam has been reaping great successes.
Today, Nestlé has distributed 36 million high-yielding and disease-resistant coffee plantlets to farmers in four provinces of the Central Highlands. The initiative has also helped the government in a re-farming programme to rejuvenate over 36,000 hectares of aged coffee areas, and conducted over 230,000 training sessions on best practices, which equip them with useful techniques to improve the bean quality and sustainable farming.
In addition, Nestlé is assisting over 21,000 farmers to acquire international certificates and increase their income by 30 per cent using Nescafé Plan techniques. The plan helps protect the natural environment through reducing irrigated water usage by 40 per cent and chemical fertiliser and pesticide use by 20 per cent. Furthermore, Nestlé provides more immediate economic advantages to farmers by buying coffee beans from them with an annual value up to $700 million.
Speaking at Vietnam Coffee Day in October, Luong Van Tu, chairman of the Vietnam Cocoa Coffee Association lauded the Nescafé Plan, saying it strengthens sustainability and advances the economic benefits of coffee farming in Vietnam. “The Nescafé Plan not only supports Vietnamese coffee farmers in volatile times, but also improves coffee farm yields up to 4.5 to 5 tonnes per hectare, almost double the national average yield of 2.6 tonnes per hectare,” Tu said. “The initiative has facilitated farmers to replant over 130,000 hectares of aging coffee trees, contributing to fulfilling the country’s coffee replanting targets.”
The Nescafé Plan has played a crucial role in public-private partnerships (PPP) for the coffee sector, an initiative under the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Western Highlands Agriculture & Forestry Science Institute, and local agricultural extension centres in the Central Highlands since 2010.
By delivering positive outcomes, Nestlé Vietnam has been recognised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for its important role in the development of the Vietnamese coffee industry. The company was awarded Certificates of Merit for its outstanding contributions to the Vietnam’s coffee industry and sustainable agricultural development under the PPP model.
Moving into the next decade, Nestlé looks to continue assisting Vietnamese farmers leverage digital technology to unlock agriculture potential. The group’s plan has unveiled the FARMS software application, managing data of each farm and connecting farmers with experts to get assistance in a timely manner. The software also includes a database of the best farming practices so that farmers can learn and apply them on their coffee farms.
Within the framework of Vietnam Coffee Day, Nestlé also organised a competition promoting sustainable coffee production among local farmers. The competition was one of the regular annual activities of the Nescafé Plan to create a level playing field where local farmers from diverse stakeholder locations can meet and exchange experiences and improve knowledge about sustainable agricultural practices.
Climate change, crop diseases, water shortages, and people leaving farms for cities all threaten the future of coffee. Nestlé Vietnam will continue its efforts to build respectful relationships with farmers through the Grown Respectfully programme. Grown Respectfully encapsulates the work Nestlé has been doing since 1938, to help farmers grow more and better coffee via the Nescafé Plan’s three pillars of respect for farmers, respect for communities, and respect for the planet.