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Vietnamese coffee farmers to benefit from new sustainability project

Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), a leading merchant and processor of agricultural goods, has announced the launch of a new coffee sustainability project to benefit some 3000 farmers in Vietnam’s Dak Lak, Dak Nong, and Gia Lai provinces, in the country’s coffee-producing Central Highlands region. 

Organised in partnership with global coffee and tea company Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) and leading agricultural solutions company Syngenta, the three-year, $US1 million project will train farmers in climate change resilience techniques, agro-chemical management, and work safety.
 
“LDC has been present in Vietnam since 1998, with coffee merchandising, processing and agronomy as our main operating activities. This project reaffirms our commitment to increasing Vietnam’s production of sustainably grown coffee, while improving long-term profitability for the farmers who grow it,” says Hidde Eikelboom, LDC Vietnam CEO and Country Head of Coffee. 
 
Duoc Nguyen, LDC Vietnam Coffee Sustainability Manager, added that alongside its like-minded project partners, JDE and Syngenta, it will work with Vietnamese coffee farmers to "meet growing industry demand" for product traceability and food safety, while also ensuring farmer welfare.
 
Cindy Lim, Head of Sustainable Productivity, Syngenta Asia Pacific, said this project will provide coffee farmers in the Dak Lak region with the practical skills to grow coffee, using inputs such as crop protection products more efficiently. "This is critical for the coffee value chain. Farmers need to increase their production sustainably, supplying safe and affordable beans, while minimising their environmental impact,” Lim says.
 
Do Ngoc Sy, JDE’s Sustainability Manager for Asia Pacific, said JDE recognises the various environmental and social issues that go with coffee cultivation. 

"As part of our Responsible Sourcing Program, we engage openly with direct suppliers such as LDC to tackle these sustainability challenges. Our joint project with LDC and Syngenta will focus on the improper use of agro-chemicals, unsafe working conditions and climate change. We recognise that the complexity of these issues may take years and the commitment of multiple stakeholders to address, but we are on the right path of doing so,” Do Ngoc Sy said.
 
A key aspect of the project will be the development of 30 demonstration plots, each between one and two hectares, where new techniques for soil and fertiliser management, the use of crop protection products, intercropping and water irrigation systems will be implemented. The most successful techniques will then be replicated across 300 hectares of coffee farms.
 
To promote a more responsible use of crop protection products and fertilisers, the project will test the soil and take expert advice on the optimal quantity of nutrients for coffee farming. A list of banned and dangerous chemical substances will be compiled for each province, along with a recommended list of fertilisers and crop protection products, which farmers will be trained to access and apply. 
 
Farmers will also learn aspects of work safety such as environmental and crop risk assessment, and the use of standard safety equipment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be supplied to farmers and spraying workers. 
 
To build local capacity in farm management, agro-chemical management and work safety, various technical tours, seminars and workshops, as well as Training of Trainers (TOT) and Farmer Field School (FFS) sessions, will be organised for 3000 farmers, 300 agriculture students, 44 farmer group leaders and four agronomists within the targeted communities.
 
This project follows a similar initiative by the three companies in 2016, which reached out to another 3000 farmers within the Central Highlands region. This brings the total number of beneficiary farmers to 6000 for both projects combined.

For more information, visit www.ldc.comwww.jacobsdouweegberts.com or www.syngenta.com

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