Tea brands need quality boost to expand exports

Monday, Aug 05, 2013 07:00

HA NOI (Biz Hub)— Tea export turnover in the first half of 2013 increased 3.3 per cent over the same period last year to reach US$94 million, despite export volume slipping by 0.4 per cent.

Although the void was filled by a 6 per cent rise in export prices, the Viet Nam Tea Association claimed export prices for Vietnamese tea remained low, at just 40-50 per cent of the value enjoyed by many other countries.

This was attributed to Viet Nam's failure to establish a well-recognised brand for "made-in-Viet Nam" tea products.

About 90 per cent of Vietnamese tea was exported in the form of raw materials and only 10 per cent left the country as a finished product, according to the association.

Viet Nam's tea industry still faces many blockages in its bid to raise the quality of products.

The association said that from the end of 2012, several batches of tea exported to Europe were returned due to pesticide content exceeding permitted levels.

According to the association's president, Doan Anh Tuan, large tea plantation fields were becoming old and stunted, failing to meet the demand for high-quality products.

Statistics showed there were more than 300 tea processing plants in the country, but only 5 per cent of them had their own fields producing raw materials.

Director of the Plantation Protection Department Nguyen Xuan Hong said Viet Nam was making efforts to enhance the quality of its tea products.

The department asked localities to keep a close watch on the use of pesticides to ensure exported products meet importers' standards.

Tea processing companies should also work with farmers to create supply chains and offer farming techniques to meet the international standards of groups such as the Rainforest Alliance (RA) Certificate or VietGap, experts said. — VNS

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