TAKE OUR HARVEST TO GET Ahead
With 3 hectares of coffee intercropped in the cashew garden, this year’s crop season, Mr. Dieu Hoan’s family in village 5, Dong Nai commune, Bu Dang district obtained about 25 tons of fresh coffee. Mr. Hoan said that compared to last year, this year’s coffee yield decreased by about 10%, but in return, the selling price at the beginning of the season was at the highest level in the past 10 years. At the beginning of the season, traders go to the garden to buy fresh coffee at a price of 11.8 thousand VND/kg.
Taking advantage of the high coffee prices, Mr. Hoan’s family hired 10 workers to harvest in 3 days to sell to traders. Although according to observations, his family’s coffee garden has just begun to ripen.
“The coffee is not very ripe yet, but the fruit is already old, only the green skin remains. Taking advantage of high prices, I pick and sell to traders, leaving it for a few days during the main season for fear of falling coffee prices. Picking early is also easy to hire workers, I still have time to prune, take care of, and regenerate the garden for next year’s crop” – Mr. Hoan shared.
At the beginning of the season, people massively harvest green coffee to sell for profit. In the photo: People in Dong Nai commune, Bu Dang district use machines to peel fresh coffee
With only 1 hectare, however, thanks to specialized cultivation, this season Mr. Dieu Quang’s family in Son Hoa village, Tho Son commune, Bu Dang district is expected to earn about 200 million VND. Mr. Quang said: Although productivity decreased compared to last year, in return this year, coffee prices at the beginning of the season are high. Every day my family hires nearly 20 workers, mainly local people, to harvest. Wages are paid per kilogram, my garden is contracted at 1.5 thousand VND/kg of fresh fruit. One day, a person can earn about 300,000 VND, acquaintances can double or even triple that depending on how large or small the orchard is.
“The coffee is only about 30% ripe. I hired workers to pick it for a week to sell it at a good price. In recent years, agricultural product prices have been unstable, while fertilizer prices have increased. If we don’t harvest early but wait for the main season, I’m worried that prices will drop and it will be a loss for growers” – Mr. Quang confided.
Having many years of experience purchasing agricultural products in Bu Dang district, Ms. Thi Khuoi said: At the beginning of the season, my family buys 50-100 tons of fresh coffee on average every day. This year, at the beginning of the season, traders bought 12,000 VND/kg, the price was high, so people massively harvested green coffee to sell.
According to Ms. Khuoi, people harvesting coffee when the fruit is not yet ripe not only affects the quality of the beans, but the selling price is also not high because green coffee will require more labor in the drying, drying and processing process.
BEFORE THE EYE, LONG-TERM DAMAGE
At a time when people are massively harvesting green coffee to sell to traders, the coffee garden of Ms. Thi Khuoi’s household in Village 5, Dong Nai Commune remains intact even though the fruit on the tree is more than 60% ripe. With 4 hectares of coffee intercropped with cashew, this year’s crop her family estimates to collect about 20 tons of fresh coffee. According to Ms. Khuoi, every year her family harvests when the coffee tree is ripe. At this point, the ripe fruit rate on the tree is more than 90%. It is expected that she will start harvesting in about a week.
People are harvesting coffee when the percentage of ripe berries on the tree is low – Image: Truong Hien
From the reality of her family’s garden, Ms. Khuoi believes that the value of agricultural products depends not only on the method of planting and care but also on the way of harvesting. For the family’s coffee garden, thanks to letting the fruit ripen to more than 90% before harvesting, productivity and output increase. Harvesting labor is also lower because most households have finished harvesting, so the labor source is abundant.
Determined not to sell fresh coffee right from the garden like many other families, this year Khuoi’s household installed a coffee drying system at home so sun or rain during harvest time is no longer so important.
Ms. Khuoi shared: Many people think that harvesting coffee when the fruit is still green to sell can be 1 to 2 times higher than the price during the main season. However, this year, the closer the coffee season gets, the higher the price. Currently, coffee traders are buying 13,000 VND/kg of fresh coffee, 1 to 2 prices higher than at the beginning of the season.
“People are in a hurry to harvest coffee when it’s still green, not only does the price lose, but the yield and quality also decrease because the beans are not mature enough and plump enough. In the long term, it will have a negative impact on coffee growers due to substandard raw material inputs, affecting the value of exporting green coffee abroad.”
Ms. THI KHUI, village 5, Dong Nai commune, Bu Dang district
In localities in the province, coffee trees are mainly intercropped. However, in recent years, this crop has brought great economic value to people. Currently, consumer markets are increasingly demanding high quality standards, especially export markets. Therefore, if people, for immediate profit, do not change their farming and harvesting practices to keep up with the trend, it means there will be no opportunity to increase economic value, which in the long run will directly affect the economy. income of coffee farmers themselves.