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Dutch trade mission signs agreement to reduce water use, protect forests in Vietnam

MILAN — International coffee companies, including Jacobs Douwe Egberts and ACOM, the Sustainable Trade Initiative and the Dutch and Vietnamese governments are going to work together to reduce water, fertilizer and pesticides use related to coffee and protect natural forests in coffee production areas in Vietnam. By 2025 deforestation related to coffee will have stopped, water use will be reduced by 25% and coffee farmers’ incomes will have increased by 30%.

Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee producer (after Brazil). Climate change and recurrent droughts are threatening coffee production. The roll out of water saving irrigation systems that can also distribute fertilizer and pesticides will significantly reduce inputs and thereby also costs. Inter-cropping and agro-forestry will help farmers to preserve the micro climate services favorable to coffee production and protect the forest cover of coffee producing areas in Vietnam.

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Steven Collet, Member of the Executive Board of IDH: “The strength of this program is that it looks holistically at all the issues related to coffee production, droughts and deforestation in one, as an integrated business driven approach. It is developing business driven, practical solutions with all relevant stakeholders together that have benefits for everyone. This means for example working on water saving, inter-cropping and agro-forestry with farmers, and looking at alternative incomes for forest dependent communities in the area to avoid further deforestation.”

The so called PPI (production, Protection and Inclusion) is a holistic approach that IDH developed in multiple geographies around the globe to balance economic prosperity with protection of natural resources and inclusion of local communities in decision making.

The MoU signed for this PPI compact provides for roll out of water saving irrigation systems that can also distribute fertilizer and pesticides; restructure service delivery of pesticides, fertilizer and seedlings to farmers; improve agro-chemical use for coffee to solve issues of residues; promote agro-forestry, improve farmer organizations, coffee quality and market access. And organize alternative livelihoods in fruit trees, pepper and livestock for forest dependent communities.

By 2025 the program wants to achieve 100% of sustainable coffee and intercrops’ production; conserve water resources by reducing water use by 25%; replacing 12% of ground water use by surface water; bring deforestation rates to zero and increase farmers’ incomes with 30%.

Mr. Duoc Nguyen, Sustainability Manager, Coffee Division, LDC Vietnam: “The multi-stakeholder approach really makes sense in the coffee sector via Initiative for Sustainable Landscape Approach (ISLA). Climate change, soil erosion, water scarcity and agro-chemicals are big issues where the involvement of governmental and non-governmental organizations is required as well as all the players of the value chain, i.e our suppliers, our competitors, and our customers.”

Laurent Bossolasco, Sustainability Manager, ACOM, Asia: “ACOM is proud of joining forces with IDH and local authorities in Central Highlands in a sector effort to tackle inefficiencies met along the coffee value chain responsible of deforestation and of the inappropriate use of natural resources (water) or agro-chemicals (chemical fertilizers, pesticides).”

Ms. Tran Quynh Chi, Senior Program Manager, IDH Vietnam: “We feel honoured to make our first PPI compact pilot, recognized by 250 participants from the Dutch trade delegation on the occasion of the Dutch PM visit to Vietnam and Vietnamese officials and partners. Though there is still a long way to go, all 15 parties signing this PPI compact are enthusiastic about this partnership and all trust in the future success via this concerted action.”

Mr. Pham S, Vice Chairman of Lam Dong province: “Lam Dong was the first province selected by IDH to implement the Sustainable Landscape Program (ISLA) in 2015. 4 years later considerable achievements have been reached, for example the public awareness about the environmental landscape was raised.

Signing this public-private partnership with partners, in which IDH is a key actor, was an important milestone and aligns with the trends and challenges of this era – sustainable agricultural development in the context of climate change and international integration.

The purpose of this PPI is to outline a common vision for an intervention program to build a sustainable landscape based on green growth targets in Di Linh district, Lam Dong province. The program is implemented through a public-private partnership mechanism, contributing significantly to sustainable and high-valued agricultural development, socio-economic development goals as well as conservation of natural resources of the local province.”