In the framework of WP3, 12 DEMOplots were installed in Vietnam to investigate the performance of the new F1 hybrids of Coffea arabica compared with the conventional Catimor variety in the North- West mountainous provinces of Son La (7 trials) and Dien Bien (5 trials). All these trials were planted in June-July 2018 and contained both Marsellesa and local Catimor of C. arabica as well as F1 hybrid Starmaya and either H1-CentroAmerico (5 trials) or Starmaya grafted on C. canephora var. Nemaya (7 trials). In 2019, these plants were regularly phenotyped but were too young to produce. This year (2020), these plants flowered for the first time and the first harvests begun in September (for trials in lower altitude) and continued up to December (for trials in high altitude). In October, Dr Dao The Anh, vice-President of Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS), accompanied with a local delegation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), as well as research staff of Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute (NOMAFSI) and Cirad, visited two DEMOplots of low altitude (around 720 m.a.s.l) located in Chieng Pha municipality (Thuan Chau district) in the Son La province (Figure 1).
In December, the ambassador of France in Vietnam, S.E Mr. Nicolas Varnery, accompanied with local Vietnamese authorities of MARD, VAAS and researchers of NOMAFSI and Cirad, also visited a DEMOplot of high altitude (1070 m.a.s.l) localized in Toa Tinh municipality (Tuan Giao district) in Dien Bien province. “From what I observe and the feedback from the farmer, the first results are visual and very promising” said the ambassador.
From September to December 2020, all these DEMOPlots were carefully followed by NOMAFSI and Cirad staff to harvest the fully-ripened (red) cherries.
All these cherries were washed, depulped, fermented and the green coffee beans were then dried at NOMAFSI station (Mai Son, Son La). These green beans will be further sent to France (IRD/Cirad) and Italy (illycaffè) where their biochemical (e.g., caffeine, chlorogenic acids, sugars…) and volatile compounds will be evaluated. The same beans will be also used during the “Quality meeting” planned in March 2021 at Son La in order to evaluate their “cup quality”.