DakLak – The capital of Vietnamese coffee
Dak Lak Province in the Central Highlandsof Vietnam is called the “capital” of Vietnamese coffee because there areboundless green coffee fields on the local basaltic hills which are always fullof wind and sunshine. The area is known for many coffee brands, which are not only famous at home,but also exported to more than 80 countries and territories throughout theworld.
Visitors to Dak Lak Province will get their first impression ofthe resources here by the presence of hundreds of coffee shops with differentarchitectural designs, and boundless green coffee hills. Domestic or foreignvisitors to Dak Lak are often informed by the local Central Highlanders: “Ifyou haven’t drunk Dak Lak coffee, it means you have not yet visited thelocation considered the capital of Vietnamese coffee.”
Coffee growing has been a long term business in Dak Lak Province with varietiesof coffee strains having been planted. These include arabica, robusta andliberica, of which robusta is the most popular. Many specialists haveacknowledged that robusta fits well in the local climate and basaltic soil. In recent years, Dak Lak coffee growers and traders have been well aware ofimproving the quality of coffee. They have paid attention to investing in thefarms with the goal of sustainable development and in processing coffee beanswith international standards.
Thereare now 30 State-run coffee businesses operating in Dak Lak Province. They haveapplied the technology of a wet coffee processing system, the world’s moststate-of-the-art technology at present, aimed at improving the coffee qualityfor export.
The Western Highlands Agro-Forestry Scientific and Technical Institute (WASI)has sorted coffee varieties by picking the clone varieties which yield highoutput and big beans. This meets the norms for export and the beans areresistant to the disease of Hemileia vastatrix Bet. Br.According to WASI Director, Dr. Le Ngoc Bau, the institute has carried outresearch and cross-bred and sorted successfully nine varieties of robustacoffee with a high output from 4.2 tonnes to 7 tonnes of beans per hectare. This produces over 65% with a high quality, big bean of Grade 1, thusincreasing competitiveness in the world market. WASI has also built nursinggardens to grow clone robusta strains, which have been approved by the Ministryof Agriculture and Rural Development.
Thanks to qualified coffee strains, the targeted coffee growing districts ofKrong Pak, Krong Buk, Krong Nang, Ea H’Leo and Cu M’Gar have increased theircoffee output, providing jobs and bringing a stable income for thousands ofhouseholds.
Besides expanding activities to provide information to the farmers andbusinesses to improve harvests and apply advanced techniques to coffeeproduction and processing, Dak Lak Province held coffee festivals and relatedevents such as the 1st and 2nd Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival in 2005 and in2008 respectively, and the Coffee Cultural Week in 2007. The 3rd Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival was held on March 10th – 13th, 2011, whichaimed at promoting, providing information and expanding the markets forVietnamese coffee.
Many interesting events were held such as introducing models of coffee farms,the culture of drinking coffee, the re-production of coffee production steps, consultationand discussion on coffee-related issues, a photo exhibition on coffee andartistic performances with Tay Nguyen cultural themes. For those who are interested in coffee production, the festival is a goodopportunity to learn about the history, culture and flavour of coffee and thesecret of making and drinking famous coffees, including Dak Lak coffee. All of the above-mentioned events are aimed at increasing the economic as wellas the spiritual value of coffee, making it become a cultural drink of specialsignificance for billions of coffee lovers all over the worldWith the idea of building Buon Ma Thuot into a global capital of coffee, TrungNguyen Coffee Share-Holding Company has used Dak Lak coffee as its brand nameto attract attention around the world. This manifests two principles of coffeespirit, creation and sustainability, based on the eco-urban development withTay Nguyen’s unique culture.
To achieve this goal, Dak Lak Province will concentrate on developinghigh-quality coffee production and processing by upgrading comprehensively thecoffee industry. They want to build a modern agricultural system ensuring aclean environment that is able to cope with climate change.Famous Dak Lak coffee brands such as Trung Nguyen, Thang Loi and An Thai withtheir unique Vietnamese flavour have won the taste tests of many coffee loversthroughout the world. This has helped Dak Lak Province expand its consumptionmarket and contribute to increasing the country’s amount of coffee beans for exportto over 1 million tonnes per year. Vietnam is ranked second among coffeeexporters in the world, with robusta coffee being the most popular.
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