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Coffee exports refused, prestige of Vietnam’s products down
05 | 06 | 2007
A lot of exported coffee consignments have been refused in the last two years, which has caused the prestige of the second-biggest coffee producer to dwindle. Experts have warned that if the quality of exports cannot be improved, the situation will get worse.
For the last two years, the world’s market, especially Europe, has continuously been rejecting Vietnam’s coffee exports. In the 2005-2006 crop, at Antwerp port, Belgium rejected 600,000 coffee bags from Vietnam, or 72% of the export consignment. Also in the same crop, at 10 other ports in Europe, some 1mil bags out of the 1.4mil bags of exports were refused.

In the 2006-2007 crop, LIFFE (London international financial and futures exchange) alone rejected importing 708,250 bags, 88% of which were sourced from Vietnam, an increase of 19% compared to the previous crop.

Vietnam’s coffee export consignments were refused because of their low quality, experts say. The Central Highlands, which has 80% of the total coffee plantation area, and provides 540,000 tonnes of coffee a year, is facing problems in coffee quality. The quality of the coffee worsens with taste and colour below international standards.

According to Le Van Linh, Deputy Director General of the Gia Lai Department for Agriculture and Rural Development, even when exports were accepted, they were sold at very low prices. On tonne of Robusta coffee sourced from India or Indonesia has the trading price level $50-100 higher than the Robusta coffee made in Vietnam.

The problems of Vietnam’s coffee, according to Mr Linh, are unripe coffee harvesting (the percentage of ripe coffee is just 10-20%), and bad processing work. This has resulted in the 25-30% decrease in coffee output.

In fact, experts have many times warned about the risks of unripe coffee harvesting; however, no solution to the problem has been found and implemented. Several years ago, the Central Highland’s Agriculture, Forestry and Irrigation Centre suggested growing high-quality Robusta coffee plants Tr4, TR5, TR6, TR7 and TR8, but no location has tried to grow these new varieties.

Five measures have been identified and are hoped will improve the situation, 1. Changing varieties; 2. Changing farming habits; 3. Changing harvesting habits; 4. Processing in accordance with standards; 5. Producing and granting certificates of coffee quality.

However, the proposed measures have not yet caught the attention of farmers and processors.



(Source: Nong thon ngay nay)

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