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Tây Nguyên coffee farmers resort to intercropping for higher income




A farm that intercrops coffee, avocado and black pepper in Gia Lai Province. – VNA/ Photo Hoài Nam

HCM CITY – Intercropping fruit and other plants in coffee orchards offers higher and steady incomes for farmers in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) region, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Cultivation Department.

The country’s largest coffee growing region has more than 163,000ha of fruits and other plants in coffee orchards, or a fourth of the area under coffee.

They include mostly durian, avocado, black pepper, cashew, and macadamia.

The intercropping produces a diverse range of agricultural products, creates jobs, improves farmers’ incomes, reduces the risk of price and demand fluctuations, and stabilises coffee production, according to the department.

It also provides shade for the coffee trees, reducing evaporation, and shelter from winds, it said.

In Lâm Đồng, Đắk Lắk and Kon Tum provinces, the income from intercropping durian and coffee is VNĐ200 – 300 million (US$8,700 – 13,000) per hectare per year, and from avocado and coffee is VNĐ100 – 150 million ($4,400 – 6,500).

In Đắk Nông Province, the income from durian and coffee is VNĐ80 million ($3,500), almost twice as that from only coffee.

With encouragement from local authorities, farmers in the region have also replaced old coffee trees with fruits and other crops in recent years.

Nguyễn Văn Luyện of Ea Tar Commune in Đắk Lắk’s Cư M’gar District cut down old trees in his 2.5ha coffee orchard and replaced them with durian, avocado and black pepper.

He has also invested in a drip irrigation system and used advanced techniques, and gets high yields from the intercropping, he said.

He earns more than VNĐ1 billion ($44,000) a year.

Nguyễn Thị Mến, chairwoman of the Ea Tar Farmers Association, said coffee farmers had switched to durian and avocado on around 70 per cent of the commune’s farmlands.

The number of poor households in the commune had reduced significantly and more than 30 per cent were affluent, she added.

Effective coffee projects

The region, which comprises Lâm Đồng, Đắk Nông, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, and Đắk Lắk provinces, has implemented various programmes to help farmers produce high-quality coffee.

They include the Việt Nam-Sustainable Agriculture Transformation (VnSAT) Project and local ones to help farmers intercrop fruit trees.

VnSAT aims to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector, especially rice and coffee, to increase farmers’ incomes and reduce environmental impacts.  

It has helped coffee farmers in the Tây Nguyên region improve techniques and infrastructure, develop nurseries with high-quality seedlings and replace old coffee orchards, local authorities said. 

The local programmes supporting intercropping have also helped farmers replace old coffee trees and improve yield and quality in recent years.

The region has an average coffee yield of 2.8 tonnes per hectare as against the global yield of 1.8 tonnes, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Farmer Nguyễn Văn Công in Bảo Lộc City’s Đại Lào Commune grows jackfruit, durian, mulberry, and coffee in his 1.2ha farm with support from a Lâm Đồng Province project.

He uses mulberry leaves to breed silkworms and sells their cocoons.

He earns an income from selling jackfruit, coffee and silkworm cocoons, and is soon going to harvest durian.

“The intercropping offers higher profits than monoculture coffee,” he said

Định Hữu Hiệp of the Đại Lào Commune Agriculture Extension Centre said the programme provided farmers with seedlings and techniques for growing fruit trees in coffee orchards.

The cultivation of fruit trees also helped protect the soil, he said.

Farmers could avoid depending completely on one kind of crop and be at the mercy of market price fluctuations, he pointed out further.

The Tây Nguyên provinces have helped coffee farmers link up with companies to ensure sustainability and produce high-quality beans for exports, including to international standards such as the common code for the coffee community (4C), UTZ, Rainforest, and Fair Trade.

Đắk Lắk Province, which has the largest area under coffee in the region, has more than 45,670ha of the beans grown to international standards, or 22.1 per cent of the area, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Lâm Đồng has 80,000ha planted to international standards and an estimated output of 255,400 tonnes of beans in the 2021 – 22 season.

In Gia Lai Province, farmers, companies and relevant agencies are strengthening linkages to develop brand names for local coffee.

Nguyễn Thị Phương Mai, deputy director of the Gia Lai Department of Science and Technology, said the department would work with relevant agencies and sectors to help companies and co-operatives produce coffee, especially speciality and organic varieties.

Companies and co-operatives would be offered assistance for registering for standard certification and with access to new markets, developing brand names and expanding linkages, she said.

The province would prioritise loans on easy terms to companies that upgrade their technologies to improve coffee quality and value, she added. –



Boy dies after school lunch in south-central Vietnam



Police in Binh Dinh Province, south-central Vietnam are investigating a case where a five-year-old boy in Hoai An District died after having lunch at his kindergarten on Tuesday.

Teachers at Tang Bat Ho Kindergarten prepared T.H.A. and his classmates for a nap after lunch at around 11:25 am on the day, but later found that the five-year-old was still awake and showed unusual signs indicating poor health, Mai Van Len, a local official said on Tuesday evening.

The teachers immediately took A. to Hoai An District Medical Center for emergency treatment and informed his family of the incident. 

However, A. was determined to have passed away before reaching the medical center at around 12:00 pm the same day.

Authorities are investigating the cause of his death.

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Indian senior executive gets 15 years for embezzling $78,000 in Vietnam



A Vietnamese court has sentenced an Indian man to 15 years in prison for embezzling nearly US$78,000 from a Vietnam-based subsidiary whose parent company is an Indian firm where the man was deputy general director.

Defendant Soumyodiptha Saha, 35, an Indian citizen, received the jail term at his first-instance trial held at the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.

The man was found to have appropriated the aforementioned amount from Ho Chi Minh City-based B9 Beverages Co., Ltd., whose parent company is B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd. headquartered in India, according to the indictment.

In 2019, B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd. recruited Saha and appointed him deputy general director in charge of finance affairs, whose duties were to control financial transactions related to the  company’s subsidiaries in other countries, including B9 Beverages Co., Ltd. in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese subsidiary opened an account at Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam) Limited in Ho Chi Minh City, for its payment transactions, in 2009.

As a senior executive in charge of accounting affairs of this subsidiary, Saha was authorized to approve payments of under $10,000 at his discretion using this account.   

Taking advantage of this privilege, from August 30 to October 28, 2019, Saha transferred a total amount of more than VND1.9 billion ($77,930) worth of 27 transactions from the account to an account held by a Vietnamese woman, Nguyen Song An, at Techcombank in Vietnam.

An left Vietnam in March 2020 via Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City after withdrawing the entire amount in her account. 

When Saha’s act of embezzlement was discovered, the man told investigators that An is his wife and they married in India in 2019.

At the trial, Saha declared that he and his wife were quarreling in January 2020 when he went to Vietnam and revealed to An the origin of the money he had transferred to her.

The man added that they have since lived in separation, without his knowing about her whereabouts. 

Saha told the court that he did not intend to appropriate his company’s money but he only “borrowed” it to help his wife to repay her debts, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper cited the foreigner as saying.

After Saha was prosecuted, Saha’s mother in India repaid all the appropriated money to the aggrieved party, B9 Vietnam Company, which confirmed the repayment and later filed a petition with the court to waive its claim against the Indian man. 

Judging that the foreigner’s act has seriously violated the rights and interests of B9 Beverages Co., Ltd. that is under the protection of the laws of Vietnam, the trial panel finally decided to impose the 15-year jail term.

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Vietnam targets $7,500 GDP per capita by 2030: resolution



Vietnam aims to achieve a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$7,500 per capita while meeting all the criteria of an industrialized country by 2030, as part of its aspiration to become a high-income developed country and one of the leading industrialized countries in Asia by 2045.

According to the latest data from the World Bank, Vietnam’s GDP per capita stood at $3,694.02 in 2021, a 4.76 percent increase from 2020.

These ambitious targets are set forth in a resolution passed at the sixth session of the 13th Party Central Committee that wrapped up last month.

Under the resolution, which was signed by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam is set to become a developing country with modern industry, high average income per capita, and enhanced living standards by 2030. 

Along with the $7,500 GDP per capita, the other specific targets for 2030 include the average GDP growth of seven percent per year at current prices, and the gross national income (GNI) of over $7,000 per capita at current prices.

The Southeast Asian nation will be built into a high-capacity and self-reliant industry that is highly adaptable and resilient, gradually mastering core and background technologies of the foundational, priority and spearhead industries within seven years, according to the resolution.

By that time, the nation’s total factor productivity (TFP)’s contribution to economic growth will reach over 50 percent, and its global innovation index (GII) will be among those of the group of 40 leading countries in the world.

In the ASEAN area, Vietnam will be among the three countries leading the region in industrial competitiveness, with its industry share in GDP exceeding 30 percent and the rate of hi-tech industrial products in processing and fabrication sectors attaining more than 45 percent.

Meanwhile, the proportion of the service sector will account for over 50 percent of GDP, with tourism alone representing 14-15 percent of GDP.

In addition, the proportion of agricultural laborers in total social labor will be less than 20 percent, while the rate of trained workers with high qualifications will range from 35 to 40 percent.

Notably, the resolution also set an ambitious target to train over 80 percent of the working-age population in basic digital skills while the nation will have about 260 university students per ten thousand inhabitants by 2030.

The country will build up a number of large-scale, multinational domestic industrial corporations and enterprises with global competitiveness in fundamental industries, priority industries, and spearhead industries.

It will build and develop a number of domestic industrial clusters with large-scale and international competitiveness, and own a number of industrial and agricultural value chains.

The country also aims to build a self-reliant, self-strengthening, modern, and dual-use defense industry that meets both defense and military needs and directly participates in socio-economic development and serving the people.

The share of the digital economy is expected to make up 30 percent of GDP and the nation will complete the construction of a digital government, earning a place among the top 50 countries in the world and ranking third in the ASEAN region in terms of e-government and digital economy.

The resolution also sets an urbanization rate of over 50 percent, the environmental performance index (EPI) at over 55, and the human development index (HDI) more than 0.7 by 2030.

It requires building and perfecting institutions and policies to promote the country’s industrialization and modernization process, in which science and technology advances, especially achievements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, should be applied broadly in order to create breakthroughs in productivity, quality, efficiency, and competitiveness of enterprises, industries and the whole economy. 

As projected in the resolution’s long-term vision, Vietnam will strive to become a developed country with high income per capita in the world by 2045.

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