As the world’s biggest producer of robusta coffee beans, Vietnam’s expectations for a larger crop this season are putting pressure on prices, which have already dropped more than 10% in the past two months. According to estimates from Bloomberg, the country’s coffee belt in the Central Highlands is expected to produce more than 1.8 million tons of beans from the harvest just starting, up from 1.76 million tons a year earlier.


Coffee beans are roasted at a shop in Vietnam.

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Mr. Trinh Duc Minh, Head of the Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Association in Dak Lak province, stated that they think 1.8 million tons would be the highest for a coffee crop in the Highlands. He said that this is what the nation as a whole used to produce. The US Department of Agriculture has estimated national output at 1.85 million tons.

 The coffee yield in Vietnam has increased due to the weather and the replanting of old trees. The five Central Highlands provinces of Dak Lak, Lam Dong, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, and Kon Tum grow more than 90% of the country’s crop. According to the farm ministry, coffee is planted on a little over 700,000 hectares across Vietnam, with a harvested area of 647,600 hectares.

coffee prices have eased back from highs

Coffee Prices Have Eased Back From Highs

Mr. Nguyen Van Son, director of agriculture for Lam Dong province, says they are expecting higher yields of robusta coffee beans this year. He attributes this to a variety of factors, including high-yielding, pest-resistant varieties of coffee plants; increased production from farms that have been replanted; and the application of new technologies, such as automatic irrigation and fertilization. All four of Lam Dong’s neighboring provinces (Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, and Kon Tum) are forecasting higher robusta yields as well, while Lam Dong is the second-largest grower, having the strongest among them.

Coffee Harvest Starts

A few districts in Dak Nong began selective fruit picking last month due to early flowering. Selective harvesting started in Dak Lak and Lam Dong this month and is set to begin in Kon Tum in early November. Gia Lai growers are likely to start gathering fruit next week.

The harvest usually peaks in November and December, but provincial authorities are concerned that heavy rains forecast for these months could hurt progress and bean quality. According to the national weather agency, rain in the Highlands may be double the historical average next month and 40% higher in December.

Officials in Lam Dong, Dak Nong, and Gia Lai provinces are concerned about potential shortages of fruit pickers. The Dak Nong province agriculture department said if there are not enough local pickers, the quality of the beans could suffer.

Source: Bloomberg