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Vietnam coffee farmers increase irrigation amid water shortage concerns

Vietnam coffee farmers face water shortage, pests, and extreme temperatures, threatening crop yields and leading to record high prices.

Vietnam, known as the world's largest producer of robusta coffee, is facing a crisis as coffee farmers struggle with excessive dryness in the main producing regions of the country. According to a recent report from J.Ganes Consulting LLC, farmers have already increased their use of irrigation up to seven times this season, compared to the usual five times in a normal season. However, they are now running low on water and may need to irrigate their coffee trees for an eighth time if water is available.

The severe water deficiency and extreme temperatures have caused nutrient imbalances in the trees, leading to concerns about lower agricultural yields. Additionally, the hot and dry environment has created favorable conditions for pests like cochinilla to spread in some farms, further threatening crop production.

Temperatures in northern and central Vietnam have soared to record highs, reaching up to 44.0 degrees Celsius, according to the country's national weather agency. These extreme weather conditions, combined with below-average production in Vietnam and Indonesia in the last crop, have contributed to record high prices for robusta coffee.

The report highlights the extensive spread of cochinilla in the Gia Lai region, one of Vietnam's main coffee producing areas, with concerns about the rapid spread of this damaging pest. Despite the current challenges, there is hope for relief as forecasts predict rain in May, which could help alleviate the dryness and support the development of the new crop.

Overall, the situation in Vietnam's coffee industry is critical, with farmers facing unprecedented challenges due to the combination of extreme weather conditions and pest infestations. The future of robusta coffee production in Vietnam remains uncertain, but there is optimism that upcoming rains may provide some much-needed relief for the struggling farmers.

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