Tea exports plunge on quality issues

Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 08:25

Viet Nam's tea exports in August reached 11,000 tonnes and was sold for $20 million.— Photo danviet

HA NOI — Vietnamese tea exports fell but its average market price rose in the first eight months of 2014, based on figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The Thoi bao Kinh doanh newspaper quoted figures from the ministry showing that Viet Nam experienced a 6.9-per cent year-on-year plunge in the export volume of tea to 83,000 tonnes, and a 1.4-per cent year-on-year drop in the export value of the crop to US$139 million.

According to the ministry, Viet Nam's tea exports in August reached 11,000 tonnes and was sold for $20 million. Meanwhile, the average export price in the first seven months rose by 5.8 per cent to $1,655 per tonne compared with that of the same period of last year, because of high demand in the world market.

Pakistan was the largest export market, with a 60.32 per cent increase in volume and 92.43 per cent increase in value for the first seven months. Kuwait was the export market with the highest growth rate in volume, at 70.6 per cent for the first seven months.

But the number of export markets fell, from 77 countries and territories to 61. The European Union, usually the market with the highest export value, fell off the list of the top 10 importers of Vietnamese tea. This was largely attributed to inconsistency in the quality of Vietnamese tea, with 70 per cent of production coming from small households.

The agriculture ministry noted that only a few large tea companies had invested in developing regions that supply raw material for tea processing facilities.

Viet Nam has 455 tea processing facilities with a total capacity of 400,000-500,000 tonnes of dried tea per year, but only five per cent of them have regions supplying the tea for them. As a result, the industry could only produce 185,000-200,000 tonnes of dried tea for processing, and lack material for processing the tea for export, said Vitas.

The association is asking provincial authorities to inspect tea processing factories in their respective areas and revoke the licences of those that fail to meet the MARD's standards.

The association has also proposed the setting up of a national coordination committee that would restructure the tea industry with the cooperation of concerned sectors and provinces. The proposed committee includes the MARD; ministries of Planning and Investment and Industry and Trade; and Vitas.

Viet Nam expects to earn $245 million from tea exports for the entire year, said the association. — VNS

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