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Historic drought cuts Vietnam’s coffee exports by 25 percent

By Bui Hong Nhung   April 26, 2016 | 01:02 am PT
Historic drought cuts Vietnam’s coffee exports by 25 percent
Coffee plantations in the Central Highlands have been starved of water in recent months due to the worst drought to hit the country in over 100 years.

A coffee tree needs to be watered up to six times during the dry season, and the trees are thirsty; they require from 400 to 700 liters each time. However, many plantations in the region have only been watered twice since the start of 2016, and some have been left dry, said the government's online news portal.

The Vietnam Coffee Association estimates that in 2016, Vietnam’s coffee exports will reach one million tons, down 25 percent from 2015. Last year, export value reached $2.6 billion, according to Vietnam Customs. As a result, Vietnam would likely to suffer a loss of over a half billion of dollars from coffee exports this year.

The association said that the prolonged drought caused by El Nino is threatening about 165,000 hectares of coffee in the Central Highlands, a third of the total coffee plantations in the region. More than 40,000 hectares have already died due to water shortages.

The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak has already recorded 33,000 hectares of dried up coffee trees, and should the drought continue, the figure could reach as much as 70,000 hectares.

Last year Vietnam exported 1.3 million tons of coffee, down 20.6 percent from 2014, according to data of Vietnam Customs. Export value reached $2.6 billion, down 24.8 percent on year.

Vietnam is the second largest coffee exporter in the world, according to International Coffee Orgazination. 

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