Around 800,000 tons of coffee is produced in Viet Nam annually, and 95 per cent of this finds its way overseas. However, the export price of Vietnamese coffee is way below that of other countries and one reason why is the poorer quality.
A farmer is going to harvest coffee ( Photo:U.Phuong)
Ho Van Son, director of the Dak Nong Coffee Company, says another reason is the lack of state-of-the-art technologies, a major shortcoming of Vietnamese coffee exporters.
There are now 30 brands of instant coffee and three-in-one combinations of coffee, sugar and artificial whitener.
It’s the latter that puts Viet Nam under the control of foreign traders because domestic enterprises import instant coffee, add sugar and whitener, and package it.
Companies outside Viet Nam pay low prices for imported coffee beans and sell instant coffee back to Viet Nam at high prices.
If this goes on, Viet Nam will lose out in a big way. Above all, it will leave the country dependent on price and technology.
Bui Xuan Thoa, director of the well-known Bien Hoa Vinacafe Corporation in Dong Nai province, says that the demand for instant coffee is enormous; however, Vietnamese exporters must be aware of quality and price if they are to compete.
His company is planning to build a coffee factory next year, one that will produce 3,200 tons of instant coffee annually, 70 percent of which is for export.
What Vinacafe and the entire Vietnamese coffee industry must do is improve the quality of their coffee and engage in some serious brand-building.