Vietnam is exporting tea mainly in the form of raw materials. In an effort to increase tea export value, both farmers and businesses in the northern province of Thai Nguyen, the country’s largest tea producer, are seeking to develop brand names for their products.

Mr Nguyen Duc Trong, owner of a tea workshop in Thai Nguyen province, has been working hard to promote his products. Trong’s goal is to develop a tea brand and seek outlets for products.

After many attempts, he realized that it was very hard for tea farmers to create brands for their products.

 “We have planned to create a brand name for our products. However, this is a lengthy and costly process so we have to seek distributors instead,” said  Trong.      

For local farmers in Thai Nguyen province, brand development is a nearly impossible mission. For local businesses, the task is also considered very hard.

Soil condition makes Thai Nguyen tea one of the best products in the country. However, experts said, tea quality is not similar in different growing areas and product packaging still fails to meet standards.

Thai Nguyen province boasts over 21,000 ha under tea which produce more than 220,000 tonnes of products a year, with 80% being exported. However, tea exports in the form of raw materials have been sold for low prices.

Agriculture officials said to develop tea brands, it is necessary to ensure tea safety and quality.

Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Vietnamese tea is now exported to 64 countries and Vietnam can expand the international market.

“We have to strengthen management of tea production and processing to ensure its quality along with boosting promotion activities,” said the Minister.

Under an agricultural restructuring programme, tea is regarded as a farm produce with huge potential for development. With a total area of 130,000 ha of tea and an annual tea export value of 250 million USD, Vietnam is set to raise the quality and productivity from the current nine tones per ha to 10 tonnes per ha.-VNA