Planning tea industry towards sustainable development

17:07 | 12/05/2015 Industry

(VEN) - With an annual output of 200,000 tonnes, the Vietnamese tea industry has great opportunities to develop and leave its mark on the international market. However, this requires actors in the sector to collaborate on a national strategy.

Planning tea industry  towards sustainable  development

Thai Nguyen Tea

The world’s fifth largest tea exporter
According to the latest statistics of the Vietnam Tea Association (VITAS), the country currently has 140,000 hectares of tea under cultivation. This provides a harvest area of 130,000ha with average yield of eight tonnes of fresh tea bud per hectare. Annual output reaches approximately 180,000-190,000 tonnes, of which the exports account for 75-80 percent. In 2014, Vietnam’s tea export reached 130,000 tonnes worth US$230 million, which helped Vietnam sustain its position as the world’s fifth largest tea exporter.
Tea exported from January 1 to mid-March 2015 totaled more than 21,000 tonnes. Orders for tea export to such traditional markets as Russia, China, Chinese Taipei and Pakistan remained stable and tended to increase. Tea exports to Pakistan accounted for more than 35 percent of Vietnam’s total tea export value and posted a 53 percent and 77 percent increase in volume and value respectively over the same period last year.
Head of the office of VITAS Hoang Vinh Long said the positive sign was that the tea exports not only increased in terms of volume but also in quality. Over the recent years, the green tea export volume growth increased from 30-35 percent to 45 percent, almost equal to that of the black tea, contributing to a significant increase in green tea’s export value. This has proved that the tea industry has made positive steps to improve its added value and production efficiency.
Developing value chains
Although Vietnamese tea products were exported to 110 markets and had their trademarks registered for protection in 77 countries and territories worldwide, they still faced difficulties in improving their position in foreign markets due to humble competitiveness.
In late 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) launched a steering committee for sustainable development of the tea industry through Decision 3886/QD-BNN-TCCB. This committee is led by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh. The committee was designed to improve Vietnam’s tea standards, prepare a project to develop tea varieties to 2020, and promote tea quality improvement. In the short run, the committee will evaluate and multiply tea sustainable development models across the country.

Some pioneers in ensuring tea product safety, including My Lam Tea from Tuyen Quang Province, Phu Ben Tea (Phu Tho Province) and Co Do Tea (Son La Province) have piloted the plant protection model.

To multiply this model, each tea processing plant needs a concentrated material growing area. Therefore, the steering committee will recommend localities to readjust their plans for local tea processing facilities, closely check and ensure that these facilities meet standards and guide processing enterprises to sign contracts with tea growers. This is a premise for the tea sector’s restructuring towards a sustainable value chain and marks the position of Vietnamese tea in foreign markets. 

                                                                                                                                                                                   By Ha Thu