Coffee farmers in Vietnam turn to durians

Quality product: Owner Tran Thi Bich Ngoc pours coffee beans into a roastery at her Mori coffee farm in Gia Lai province. Production of robusta coffee in Vietnam likely shrank this year to its smallest volume in four years as some farmers turned to growing durians. — AFP

HANOI: Vietnam’s production of robusta coffee likely shrank this year to its smallest volume in four years as farmers focus more on growing durians and are drawn away by a property boom.

The coffee harvest fell more than 7% from the previous year to 1.67 million tonnes, according to the median estimate of exporters and traders in a Bloomberg survey. Crop expectations gradually declined as the harvest progressed.

The global market for robusta beans, the preferred type used in instant drinks, has grown as roasters and consumers seek cheaper options to cope with high inflation.

Prices have also been supported by worries about the impact of weather on some key crops. That’s driven futures for the variety up 35% this year in London and to the highest level in more than a decade.

“Actual output was lower than people had forecast,” said Phan Hung Anh, chief executive of exporter Quang Minh Coffee Trading in the province of Binh Duong.

“Growers invested less in their coffee farms as turned to growing durians and other more profitable fruit.”

The country shipped 1.16 million tonnes of coffee in the first seven months of the season, the highest ever, according to customs and statistics office data compiled by. But the pace may slow over the rest of the season. — Bloomberg

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