The decline is attributed to an excess supply, no tea brand in the global market and the quality of Vietnamese tea which is not high enough to meet international customers.
In the first quarter of this year, Vietnamese tea products were shipped to 16 markets, of which Russia, Pakistan, Taiwan, Indonesia, the US, China and Malaysia, each had an export volume of more than 1,000 tons.
Pakistan remained Vietnam’s largest tea importer in terms of value with US$8.45 million (down 19.2%), consuming 4,067 tons (down 28.9%). In spite of a decrease in both export volume and value, the export price increased 13.7% to US$2,077 a ton. It is the result of strict hygiene regulations imposed by Pakistan .
Tea exports to Russia hit 4,172 tons which was higher than that of Pakistan but the value was lower and just reached US$6.49 million.
Meanwhile tea exports to the Philippines grew impressively, ballooning fourfold in volume with 228 tons, a 12-fold increase in value with US$0.6 million and 2.5-fold in prices with US$2,612 a ton to become the fastest-growing market in the first quarter of this year.
The EU market also saw a high growth in both volume and value. This is a good sign as this 500 million population market is very attractive for many tea exporters in the world. Tea products are favoured by EU customers who only care for their high quality. So to boost exports Vietnamese tea producers should ensure product quality, design, consumer safety and offer convenience and ease of use.
Japan is a potential market as the Japanese people consider tea a healthy drink, an art and pleasure of the elderly and high income earners. However, Vietnamese tea makes up only 0.5% of its market shares as it does not meet the tastes of Japanese customers. Most Vietnamese tea exports to the market are raw and unprocessed.
Experts affiliate the reduction in tea exports in the first quarter of this year to the delay in building a high quality brand for Vietnamese tea.