Fluctuating Coffee Prices Are Putting Mental Pressure on Vietnamese Farmers

A new international study published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics has found that large fluctuations in world market prices can significantly impact the mental health of Vietnamese coffee farmers. The study, “Commodity price volatility and the psychological well-being of farmers,” was conducted by Finn Tarp and Saurabh Singhal from Lancaster University. The results suggest that not only poverty but also the risk of poverty caused by fluctuating prices has a significant negative effect on the mental well-being of farmers in low-income countries.

Poverty and mental illness are closely linked, with as much as 80% of the world’s depressive disorders occurring in low- and middle-income countries. The soaring socio-economic costs of mental illness are a growing international concern, and it is essential to investigate the underlying sources of mental illness and formulate effective economic policy responses and social interventions.

Violent coffee prices contribute to the mental health burden in Vietnam by reducing farmers’ expectations of future economic prospects, increasing their cognitive load and alcohol consumption, and reducing their social capital. This leads to sleep issues, loneliness, depression, concentration issues, and increased diffuse anxiety in an already tense daily life.

The study suggests that governments should consider introducing policies that stabilize farmers’ incomes, such as offering price insurance or increasing access to market-based risk management. It is also important to raise awareness of the particular problem of mental illness among farmers and offer support to those affected.

Coffee is a risky crop in Vietnam, as it is a perennial crop with a lifespan of over 50 years. Large fluctuations in international commodity prices create economic uncertainty, leading to increased mental distress among coffee farmers.

Read More @ phys.org

Suggested Reading