Since 2016, over 3,180 Vietnamese tea farmers have been trained by Rikolto (previously VECO) in sustainable land management practices as part of The Rainforest Alliance’s project “Mainstreaming Sustainable Management of Tea Production Landscapes”. Initial results show that farmers’ income has increased by an average of 30% due to a reduction in chemical use and higher prices for quality tea leaves.
Tea is one of Vietnam’s national drinks and the second most popular beverage in the world. However, less and less Vietnamese farmers are willing to invest in tea due to a regular decline in prices in the past decades. Tea production in Vietnam is concentrated in the Central and Northern Highlands, two areas that are particularly at risk of food insecurity and land degradation. The current problem of soil erosion is expected to intensify due to climate change and a growing global demand for tea which will likely increase pressures on already nutrient-deprived farmland. The high use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides has resulted in poor soil health and undermined Vietnamese tea’s reputation on international markets, contributing to low prices for farmers. Improved soil conservation measures can help reduce the pressure on tea farming landscapes but have not yet been widely applied in Vietnam.