Hoang Van Son, a coffee grower in Ea Ktur commune in Cu Kuin district in Dak Lak, said farmers can have big yields with the new cultivation model.

Previously, Son cultivated coffee under a traditional method, using a lot of chemical fertilizer and herbicides. Herbicides are toxic to human health and land.

“Since switching to regenerative agriculture, we don’t use herbicide anymore but we cut grass. Dry leaves and branches, which were previously gathered and burnt, are now scattered on the field to prevent weeds. When they rot, they turn into humus, which is good for soil,” he explained.

This, plus the use of high-quality seedlings, allows farmers to reduce the amount of water and fertilizer. Input costs have decreased, while yield has increased.

Son said previously when applying the traditional farming method, he collected two kilograms of coffee beans from one coffee plant each season, but the figure increased to 3-4 kilograms thanks to the new method.

He not only can earn more money from higher yields of coffee, but also from alternate farming crops such as avocado and pepper. In the past, he could only earn VND100 million per hectare of crops, but now can earn VND190 million.

Khuat Quang Hung from Nestle Vietnam said that regenerative agriculture not only helps farmers in the Central Highlands reduce cultivation costs, and increase yield and quality, but also brings higher value, including reduction in chemical use and greenhouse gas emissions, and protection and restoration of agricultural land.

In late 2019, Nestle announced its commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 and released a roadmap to reach that goal. The tally of carbon (CO2) emissions in the entire supply chain found that nearly two thirds of greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture. Therefore, addressing emissions is one of the key tasks for the company to fulfill net-zero commitments.

The regenerative agriculture model has three major resources, soil, water and biodiversity. This is the focus of comprehensive restoration efforts. 

The priority actions include a more diversified production system and operations based on real situations, supported by scientifically sound agronomic principles. 

Farmers are at the center of the model. Farmers manage resources and make decisions suitable to their own circumstances.

To date, about 21,000 households with 60,000 hectares of coffee have been following the regenerative agriculture model. The initiative has helped solve problems related to climate change, supported the community, and protected natural resources.

Reducing emissions from agriculture 

Tran Dai Nghia from the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) in December 2021, said at COP 26, Vietnam, with nearly 150 countries, pledged to reduce net emissions to zero by mid-century, and, together with 100 countries, to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2010. 

The emissions in agriculture are mostly in cultivation, animal husbandry, land management and fertilizer use. 

In terms of CO2, agricultural production in Vietnam discharges to the environment 80 million tons a year, accounting for 30 percent of the total volume of CO2 nationwide. Of this, nearly 70 percent of CO2 emissions are from cultivation activities.

To implement commitments to cut net emissions to zero percent by 2050 and methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030, many resources will be needed. It is necessary to mobilize resources from all economic sectors, especially private sources. 

The greenhouse gas emission reduction plan needs to be closely linked with the transition to ecological agriculture, low CO2, a circular economy, digital transformation, a modern countryside, and civilized farmers. 

The success of tens of thousands of households in the Central Highlands in switching to a regenerative agriculture model shows the way to implement commitments.

According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the temperature of the Earth is forecast to increase by 2.7oC by the end of this century. 

If the commitments on reducing net emissions to zero are fully implemented, the temperature around the globe would still be 2.2oC higher by the end of the century.  Reducing emissions therefore is an urgent issue.

Tran Thuy