Vietnam arabica coffee production is small.
Although the amount of arabica produced in Vietnam is not as large as that of robusta, it still plays a certain role in Vietnamese coffee industry in particular and agriculture in general.
Areas of plantation of Vietnam arabica.
Currently, Vietnam’s arabica area is estimated to be in around 40,000 hectares, accounting for 6.5 percent of the area under coffee crop. According to Thanh, a manager in the ministry’s crops department, one of the development strategies for Vietnam’s arabica is to remain stable at this crop area until 2030. In addition, Vietnam also projects to replace robusta with arabica where there are suitable conditions of climate and soil, told by the chairman of Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association (VICOFA). It is said that Vietnam has an extremely huge potential of expanding arabica cultivation area in the North thanks to suitable geographic and climate conditions.
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Main growing areas and provinces of Vietnam arabica.
Generally speaking, the advantageous growing condition for arabica is in cool climates with 1,000 meters above sea level (known as asl). Robusta coffee is densely planted in the provinces of the Central Highlands, Vietnam while arabica coffee is planted in mountainous areas of the Northern Vietnam and the Central officially, concentrating on Lam Dong, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Tri, Nghe An, Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien provinces. In Vietnam, the suburban of Da Lat city is well-known for arabica with outstanding features as of 1,500m asl., cool climate, the reasonable temperature limited in 5-33 degree Celcius. For these characteristics, this location is qualified for arabica plantation. Particularly, arabica (varieties of Bourbon or Moka) planted in Cau Dat of Da Lat is Vietnam’s best arabica coffee having preeminent and flavor, equal to the best coffees in the world. Otherwise, moving to the North, cold climate affected by South East monsoon combined with large amount of rainfall and unclear dry season create convenient conditions for coffee growing here. Following that, the second highest-appraised arabica is belonging to Chieng Ban, Son La province, in the West of Hoang Lien Son mountain range whose location is similar to that of São Paulo, Brazil. In addition, international customers who are fond of arabica have been highly appreciated the value of catuna, catual, cartimor, which are diverse types of abrica in northern west of Vietnam. Moreover, arabica originating in Khe Sanh, Huong Hoa, Quang Tri province (the central of Vietnam) also brings unique and exciting taste.
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Vietnam arabica’s volume is still low and unstable.
On the other hand, the price of arabica is nearly double to that of robusta thanks to a much more complicated processing method in which ripe cherries are selected consciously and then the wet processing method is frequently used to ensure the highest quality of beans. Recently, the economic crisis has had a negative effect on arabica coffee industry not only in Vietnam but also in arabica-producing countries, which is rooted in a movement from using arabica as a main ingredient in blending with robusta for to reduce cost. Furthermore, irregular weather also affects Vietnamese arabica coffee in an adverse way. For instance, Vietnamese arabica output in 2012-2013 was estimated to be about 850,000 bags equivalent to 51,000 metric tons. In 2013-2014, however, it was predicted to decline by 10 percent by USDA organization due to coffee rust disease on arabica coffee trees during the fruit-yielding seasons.
In theory, the growth for arabica coffee in Vietnam is still potential. The country possesses good conditions to develop arabica coffee in many parts and regions allocating from the Central to the North. Arabica is also promising to help local economic development as this kind of coffee has higher prices as compared to robusta. Although Vietnam has already planned its own strategy to increase arabica production, its volume is still unstable and low in quantity. Unpredictable weather (climate change and global warming) and unexpected disease (coffee rust) make Vietnam arabica coffee production still a big challenge.