Quang Van Ta, a farmer from Chieng Dencommune in northern Son La province, has nearly three hectares of coffeeplants. He said a kilo of beans now fetched only 6,000 VND while thewages for workers hired to pick them were around 2,500 VND per kilo.
Costs of pesticides and fertiliser have also gone up.
Dried coffee beans are being sold to traders and businesses at25,000-30,000 VND per kilo, a decrease of 10,000 VND compared to lastyear.
Quang Van Sam said his family and manyhouseholds had to dry and process some of the coffee beans and put theminto storage to wait for prices to rise. Otherwise, he said he wouldincur major losses.
Cold weather below 10 degree Celsius is not making it any easier for coffee farmers.
According to statistics from the Son La Department of Agriculture andRural Planning, cold weather and frost had damaged at least 640 hectaresof coffee plantations in Mai Son, Thuan Chau and Son La duringDecember.
Tong Van On from Hua La commune said hisfamily used to make about 100-150 million VND from growing coffee eachyear, but this year, his family suffered significant losses.
Hoang Van A, a farmer from the same commune with 20 years ofexperience, said many coffee trees had been damaged by hoarfrost.
Hoang Van Ton, head of the livestock and plant bureau under the Son LaDepartment of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province wasworking to assess the damage.
For now, coffeegrowers who have lost at least 30 percent of plants will be compensated 1million VND (47 USD) per hectare.
The province hasalso approved a development plan to reassess coffee plantations in theregion from now up to 2020, and could include government subsidises forcoffee growers when prices are low.
According toexperts, a long-term solution was needed to promote sustainable farmingand build a brand name to promote Son La coffee.-VNA