Droughts occurring in the past 5 years have damaged hundreds of thousands of hectares of coffee and other crops in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam. Smallholder coffee farmers in Vietnam’s Central Highlands are on the losing side of the race for water amid frequent and more severe droughts due to climate change.
According to the climate scenarios, although the total annual rainfall in this region is on an upward trend, the dry season will become increasingly extreme, and may be longer. The region’s ability to retain water has also been weakened due to the ongoing deforestation, a significant part of which has been for coffee cultivation and hydroelectricity.
“In rain-fed areas, the smallholder farmers in the Central Highland region, especially the poor and near poor, have been experiencing the increasingly acute shortage of irrigation water in the dry season,” said Dao Xuan Lai, the head of the Climate Change and Environment Division of the UNDP in Vietnam.
“It’s the big picture that should be considered, not just export figures,” said Lai of the UNDP. “The current coffee price [currently at record levels] does not reflect the environmental and human costs.”