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Vietnam's Coffee Story: Lessons for African Countries

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Coffee represents an important tree commodity for several developing countries across the humid tropics, with massive evidence in Asia (as illustrated in van Noordwijk et al 2022). This is apparent from the commodity’s role as a source of employment, revenue, and a huge influence on the balance of payments. Following Brazil, Vietnam is the second-largest exporter of coffee in the world. It has come from a little-known coffee producer to a commanding player with more than 10% share in the global coffee market in about a generation. In 1990, the coffee production was estimated at 92,000 tonnes and rose to 1,683,971 tonnes in 2019 (FAOSTAT 2019). This places Vietnam at a production position of 59% of the Asian & Oceania total production. This is far beyond the total African production of 18,514 (thousand 60-kg bags) (FAOSTAT 2019). According to the Department of Crop Production of Vietnam (2019), the total land area of coffee is 664,000 ha, of which 93% Robusta and 7% Arabica (CUC TRÔNG TROT). To its national economy, coffee contributes 1.5% of the export revenues; hence, presenting 3% of the GDP and making it the second most valuable agricultural commodity (UNIQUE, n.d.). The export value of the coffee sector in 2015 was estimated at USD 2.67 billion, with Germany and the USA as the largest importers at a share of 13.4% and 11.7% market share, respectively (Thang and Phuc 2016).

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