Landscape Coffee Model VnSAT at Helena Coffee Farms: Landscape coffee is a model of intercropping coffee with other crops to create ecological landscapes, helping to bring high value to coffee trees, which can develop tourism at Helena Coffee Farms.
In this model, to avoid the sun and wind for coffee and keep the garden green, farmers plant more perennial crops such as fruit trees, pepper, and macadamia… Grass, shrubs, flora, and fauna are also kept. This model is implemented by the Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Project in Vietnam – VnSAT to support farmers.
The landscape coffee model of Dak Nong Organic Agricultural Cooperative is separated from residential areas, roads, and other traditional coffee gardens by a buffer zone of trees. More than 20ha of coffee is cultivated according to organic standards, with no pesticides, and no chemical fertilizers at Helena Coffee Farms.
In the garden, coffee co-exists harmoniously with tall plants such as pepper and shrubs, and weeds. Each ecological layer has its own effect and helps to improve the quality of coffee.
Mr. Le Ba Hai – Director of Helena Coffee Vietnam said that the first is the high layer of trees including fruit trees and pepper plants to cover the sun, dew, and wind to regulate the garden’s temperature. The middle floor is for growing coffee and the lowest is for growing grass vegetation. The vegetation is a very important layer of the landscape coffee model in accordance with the ecological model.
If weed management measures are applied, it will bring many practical benefits such as: Creating ground cover to prevent erosion, retaining moisture, adding organic matter to the soil, and creating an environment for beneficial microorganisms to grow, helping plants grow better.
The application of lawn management to replace herbicides helps farmers save water for irrigation by reducing water evaporation and moisture retention, reducing the use of pesticides, and healthy plants. Since then, the quality of coffee has improved, and there is no residue of glyphosate in the product, making it easier for Vietnam’s coffee exports, especially to the European market.
The director added that to ensure the organic coffee model, the cooperative chooses land that is not located in polluted areas of factories and residential areas. The cooperative does not use pesticides as well as fertilizers to put in the garden. Instead, the cooperative uses microbial fertilizers or manure from goats, cows, and coffee husks to process quality fertilizer products for crops. In addition, the cooperative also cultivates native microorganisms to spray and irrigate the garden.
After nearly 5 years of implementation, the cost of landscape coffee production has been reduced by 11% compared to the traditional way. Landscape coffee output is higher, up to 3.5 tons/hectare.
The price of landscape coffee is also much higher than that of conventionally produced coffee. Not only that, but farmers also have more income from intercropping crops. From the initial success, the VnSAT project is also considering supporting the enhancement of the landscape coffee value chain.
According to Mr. Cao Thanh Son – Deputy Director of the Central VnSAT Project Management Board, building a sustainable landscape coffee model has links between international underwriters and indigenous people, the Mo Nong people to forming a chain linking organic coffee with community tourism of indigenous people.
The VnSAT project is supporting two coffee production cooperatives in Dak Nia and Dak R’Moan communes in Gia Nghia city to build a model of landscape coffee combined with tourism. For Dak Nong Organic Agriculture Cooperative, in the period from 2015-2020, the VnSAT project has supported the construction of warehouses, drying yards, coffee processing machinery, equipment, etc.
In the Tan Phu Nong service, the VnSAT project supports the construction of 20km of in-field roads to access the production area. Those are the factors that help form the model of landscape coffee combined with tourism.
Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Hoai An – Deputy Director of Helena Coffee Vietnam shared that the project management board also integrates many programs such as annual coffee festival programs, combined with coffee programs. intercropping to bring about high economic efficiency. The two communes of Dak Nia and Dak R’Moan are located in the area of the Global Geopark, so it is very convenient for the production of landscape coffee combined with tourism.