“Vietnam is the fifth largest exporter of tea in the world. We export tea to 118 nations and territories, but the price of Vietnamese tea is only about 60 per cent of the world price,” said the association’s deputy chairman, Nguyen Van Thu.
“We need to find ways to boost our competitiveness and fulfil our true potential,” Thu added.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has already taken steps to achieve this, by applying new technology to improve quality, boosting co-operation with foreign partners, seeking new markets and encouraging all economic sectors to join in the industry.
In its turn, the association has focused on increasing the supply of raw materials to meet the rising demand.
The association explained that tea plantations had been developed in 34 provinces across a total area of 130,000ha, which it hoped to extend to 150,000 ha in 2015.
“Over 600 manufacturers process tea, but they are only operating at 50 per cent capacity due to a lack of raw materials, producing just 160,000 tonnes per year,” said the chairman of the association Doan Anh Tuan.
“It is urgent. We need a plan to develop plantations, otherwise we will not be able to solve the shortage,” Tuan said.
According to the association, manufacturers needed to develop their own plantations, and new enterprises must be able to supply their own raw materials.
This would help the industry develop for the long term, the association said.
A report from the ministry said that in the first eight months of this year, the country exported 84,000 tonnes of tea, worth $127 million. That was down by 0.8 per cent in volume but up by 3.4 per cent in value over the same period last year.
In those eight months, the average price of export tea was $1,401 per tonne, up 1.3 per cent year-on-year.