Recently, due to prolonged rain and high humidity, fungi appeared, causing the premature coffee cherries in many areas of coffee in the Central Highlands to drop. This makes farmers concerned.
Dak Lak is the province with the largest coffee area in the Central Highlands, although there are no statistics on the area of coffee trees that have dropped premature cherries; according to farmers, many coffee fields have appeared cherry drop due to fungi.
Mr. Le Van Tam, from Hoa Dong commune (Krong Pac district), shared: “My family has 0.7ha of coffee in the premature cherry stage, but the cherry drop started about a month ago, coffee cherries drop so much every downpour. If this situation persists, it is certain that this crop’s production will be affected. Currently, I am looking to buy pesticides for spraying but it is not successful.
Also in Hoa Dong commune, not far from Mr. Tam’s house, Mr. Bui Thanh Le is spraying pesticides on his coffee field. Mr. Le said: “Last time, due to prolonged rain and high humidity, the fungi appeared a lot, causing the coffee cherry drop. Through observation, I see that the stems are gradually blackening, then a white film is covered, each bunch of cherries rots and falls off in bulk… If it continues, this year the Central Highlands will have to suffer a bad harvest of coffee”.
According to our observations, in Mr. Le’s coffee field, among the remaining bunches of premature cherries, there are dark stems which are signals of the cherry drop. Cherries are out of in many trees, leaving only branches and leaves, the drop ratio is up to 10-15%.
Not only in Dak Lak, Lam Dong is also has a relatively large area of coffee lost fruit. According to Lam Dong Plant Protection Department, only in Tam Bo commune (Di Linh district), 1,077 hectares of coffee trees suffer the cherry drop, of which 150 hectares are infected with mealybugs at an average level, with a damage rate of 11.5%, espectially, there was heavy damage to several trees. In the remaining 777 ha, mealybugs cause slight damage (less than 7.5%). Besides, in Hiep Thanh II village (Tam Bo commune), the majority of farmers cultivate on land with a high percentage of rocks, thin cultivation layer, currently coffee is in the stage of accumulating dry matter into beans which need much nutrition. If nutritions are not provided in time, its cherries will drop.
In Dak Nong, the coffee cherry drop situation is also scattered in the fields of many farmers, causing coffee growers to face a bad crop; also, the low yields due to the high percentage of old trees. The coffee production in crop year 2014-2015 is expected to be much lower than in the previous crop year. In districts such as Cu Jut, Dak Song, Dak Mil, Krong No…, major coffee-growing areas of the province, the rate of fruit drop is up to 20-30%, even in many places up to 40%. According to some farmers, the cause of the above situation may be due to complicated weather, prolonged hot weather, and then continuous rains causing stem rot and fruit drop.
According to the Vietnam Coffee – Cocoa Association (Vicofa), the cause of the fruit drop is due to the drought during the flowering period from the beginning of the year to the end of June. These are favorable conditions for mealybugs to develop. During the flowering period, there was a prolonged drought, but in the fruiting period, the coffee continued to suffer from heavy rain, causing the premature fruit to be infected with black fungus on the stem and fall.
Thus, in the 2014-2015 crop year, farmers in the Central Highlands once again is facing a bad harvest. They are extremely insecure and worried because their income is not enough to pay for their investments; Meanwhile, the price of green coffee in the area is not stable. This easily leads them to massively cutting down coffee to grow other crops, greatly affecting the sustainable development of Vietnam’s coffee industry in general and the Central Highlands in particular.
According to the National Agricultural Extension Center