Kirin Holdings, one of Japan’s leading food and beverage companies has announced that it will increase support for coffee growers in Vietnam amid growing consumer demand for sustainable products.
The company’s goal is to extend support to 700+ Vietnamese farms by the end of this year, double its current figure, by training farmers in sustainable production methods to help them obtain certification from an international accreditation organization.
Currently Kirin helps Vietnamese coffee growers get certification from U.S.-based nongovernmental organization, Rainforest Alliance. To receive certification, farmers must work to protect biodiversity within their farms and agree to refrain from using excessive amounts of agrochemicals to stimulate agriculture growth.
Beginning in 2020, Kirin has supported 350 Vietnamese coffee farms, helping growers conserve water, protect rivers from pollution and introduce better cultivation methods for areas with low sunlight.
According to a Kirin spokesman, Vietnamese coffee represents about 30% of the ingredients used by Kirin in its products, such as canned coffee beverages.
A concern for Kirin has been that the company sees fluctuating output among Vietnam's many small coffee growers. By assisting these farmers, and others in the future, Kirin aims to improve the quality of its own products and ensure steady production.
Vietnam is the world's second-largest coffee bean producer after Brazil. According to Vietnamese customs officials, the country exported $2.74 billion USD worth of coffee last year, down 4.2% from 2019.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also reports a decline in the total acreage of areas covered by coffee farming, which was estimated at 680,000 hectares in 2020, a decline of 2% from 2019.