Coffee output from the 2012/2013 harvest in Daklak, Vietnam’s top growing province, may shrink less than 5 percent to 465,000 tonnes, or 7.75 million bags, a provincial report said, well below an earlier projected fall of around 10 percent.
The latest forecast was released on Friday by the Daklak People’s Committee, the local government, which also forecast it would export 350,000 tonnes of coffee this crop year, a rise of 17 percent, the Daklak trade promotion centre said.
On Tuesday, a Daklak agriculture department official told Reuters the province’s output may fall around 10 percent to between 440,000-450,000 tonnes.
Coffee production has been a major source of income for Vietnam since the early 20th century. First introduced by the French in 1857, the Vietnamese coffee industry developed through the plantation system, becoming a major economic force in the country. After an interruption during and immediately following the Vietnam War, production rose once again after Đổi mới economic reforms, reaching 900,000 tons per year in 2000. In 2009, Reuters reported Vietnamese coffee exports at “an estimated 1.13 million tonnes” for the previous year, stating that coffee was second only to rice in value of agricultural products exported from Vietnam.
Coffee was introduced to Vietnam in 1857 by the French and slowly grew as producer of coffee in Asia. The height of coffee production occurred in the early 20th century as small-scale production shifted towards plantations. The first instant coffee plant, Coronel Coffee Plant, was established in Biên Hòa, Đồng Nai Province in 1969, with a production capacity of 80 tons per year.
The Vietnam War disrupted production of coffee in the Buôn Ma Thuột region, the plateau on which the industry was centered. Although seldom involved in conflict, the area was a crossroads between North and South and was largely depopulated. After the North Vietnamese victory the industry, like most agriculture, was collectivized, limiting private enterprise and resulting in low production.