Vietnam’s cup of tea: Public-private partnerships

06:00 | 24/03/2021 Environment

(VEN) - Promoting public-private partnership (PPP) to reach sustainable development and protect the environment will help Vietnam’s tea industry improve product quality, market position and participation in the global value chain.

vietnams cup of tea public private partnerships

According to the Vietnam Tea Association (VITAS), Vietnam ranks fifth and seventh among countries and territories worldwide in terms of tea exports and production, respectively. Vietnam exports tea products to 74 countries and territories. About 123,000 hectares of tea is cultivated in 34 provinces and cities throughout the country. In 2020, tea exports to key markets were stable or grew despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Domestic sales of tea products totaled 45,000 tonnes in 2020, of which 51 percent was black tea, 48 percent was green tea, and one percent was other tea products.

Le Van Duc, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Crop Production, assessed that in recent years, Vietnam’s tea industry has recorded significant achievements. A 20-year program for development of tea varieties has created 30 new tea varieties, accounting for 60 percent of the country’s tea cultivation area. Under PPP models, tea farmer households are participating in development chains, including the Rainforest Alliances and VECO, IDH, and a program for the sustainable development of Shan Tuyet tea in northern mountainous areas, among others.

vietnams cup of tea public private partnerships

VITAS Deputy Chairwoman and General Secretary Nguyen Thi Anh Hong said the industry’s PPP program has obtained encouraging achievements five years after it was launched.

Origin traceability and food safety are vital for the tea industry to reach sustainable development. Nguyen Quy Duong, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Protection Department, said the department has been participating in the tea industry’s PPP program over the past five years, In coordination with the Vietnam Tea Association and 12 companies, the Plant Protection Department established plant protection teams, which help tea farmers safely use pesticides to ensure tea product quality, safety and hygiene.

Code certification

Apart from food safety, tea importing countries are interested in origin traceability and growing area code certification, especially given Vietnam’s membership in many free trade agreements (FTAs). The department is working with a number of organizations, including the Vietnam Tea Association, to experiment with issuance of growing area code certificate for products from Thai Nguyen and Son La provinces.

vietnams cup of tea public private partnerships

According to the Vietnam Tea Association, the PPP program’s 2021-2025 target is to strictly manage the use of pesticides and improve supply chain efficiency and product quality. The tea industry set a target of certifying 20 enterprises for their sustainable production, training about 2,000 farmers and granting many more enterprises with growing area codes in the next three to four years. However, businesses will play a very important role in making these targets reachable, and they should acknowledge the importance of meeting high product quality standards when penetrating high-grade, discerning markets.

Dr. Le Quoc Thanh, Director of the National Agricultural Extension Center (NAEC), assessed that PPP has boosted relations between the state and the private sector over the past decade. PPP is also found in coffee, tea, vegetable, fruit, seafood, pepper, rice and agricultural chemical businesses. PPP provides an important and efficient solution to attract investment from different sources in the community and maximize the state’s role in agricultural development management.

The tea industry will be promoting policy dialogue, fund construction, improvement of partner groups’ performance,

and activities aimed at ensuring the safe use of pesticides and sustainable production to develop PPP in the 2021-

2025 period.

Nguyen Hanh