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Many positive signals about tea export in the first quarter of 2024

The global tea market is expected to reach $37.5 billion by 2025. Improving quality, processing, and branding are ways for Vietnamese tea to expand its market share.


Regarding the export market, in January 2024, Vietnam exported tea to 16 markets, a decrease of 1 market compared to January 2023 (Philippines), and a decrease of 3 markets compared to the entire year 2023, including Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, and Kuwait.


"Tea is one of Vietnam's top 5 commodities in terms of volume. In 2023, Vietnam's tea exports reached 121,000 tons, valued at $211 million, representing a 17% and 11% decrease compared to the same period last year. This was also the year with the lowest export volume in 7 years."


Tea exports to major markets have significantly increased in the early part of this year. 


According to Mekong Asean, in January 2024, Vietnam exported 12,398 tons of tea, valued at over $21 million. This represents a 9.7% decrease in volume and a 10% decrease in value compared to the previous month, but an impressive 85% increase in both volume and value compared to the same period in 2023, according to data from the General Department of Customs.


The remarkable increase is mainly attributed to the low base in early 2023 and the strong growth in tea exports in the latter months of 2023. In terms of average export price, in January 2024, Vietnam's average tea export price reached $1,694 per ton, equivalent to the average export price in January 2023 but slightly down by 3% compared to the average export price for the entire year 2023.


In terms of export markets, in January 2024, Vietnam exported tea to 16 markets, a decrease of one market compared to January 2023 (Philippines), and a decrease of three markets compared to the entire year 2023, including the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, and Kuwait.


Among these, Pakistan continues to be Vietnam's largest tea export market, accounting for 36.7% of the total volume and 43.7% of the total export turnover of tea for the entire country, with 4,556 tons, equivalent to nearly $9.2 million, representing a 33% increase in volume and a 52% increase in value compared to the same period last year. Pakistan also stands out as a market with a relatively high average tea export price ($2,013 per ton), higher than the average export price of tea.


In second place is the market of Taiwan (China). With a growth rate of about 87% in both volume and export value, reaching 928 tons, valued at nearly $1.4 million, Taiwan has climbed one place in the ranking of Vietnam's largest tea export markets.


The third position belongs to the United States, with a total volume of exported tea reaching 913 tons, equivalent to a turnover of over $1.2 million, representing a 191% increase in volume and nearly doubling in value compared to the same period.


As the fastest-growing market among the top 5 tea export markets of Vietnam, China recorded a growth rate of 412% in volume and 145% in value, reaching 701 tons and over $1 million. However, due to the much higher increase in the volume of tea exports compared to the increase in turnover, the average export price of tea to the Chinese market has decreased by more than half compared to the same period, from $3,067 per ton to $1,469 per ton.


According to the Vietnam Tea Association (Vitas), overall, the average export price of tea to most markets fluctuates around $1,300 - $1,600 per ton. However, Vietnam still observes some markets with significantly higher average export prices compared to others.


Focusing on enhancing productivity and quality.


According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, research from Research and Markets shows that the global tea market reached $24.3 billion in 2016, and is projected to reach $37.5 billion by 2025. The increasing growth rate of the tea industry is driven by changing lifestyles and growing consumer awareness of the health benefits of drinking tea. Alongside the rising demand, tea products have also undergone significant changes to adapt to lifestyles. Premium home-brewed tea, health-beneficial teas, cold-brewed teas, among others, are forecasted to lead the market in the upcoming period.


In addition, there is a need to develop a strategy to exploit the thousands-of-years-old tea forests in our country. This is a significant advantage for building an image and establishing the brand of premium Vietnamese tea.


A report from the Vietnam Tea Association previously pointed out that the volume of tea consumed domestically is only one-third of the volume exported, yet the domestic consumption value is higher (around $352 million), mainly due to the consumption of packaged specialty teas. This indicates that not only the international market but also the domestic demand for premium tea is very high.


Referring to the story of the "four famous teas," including white tea, green tea, oolong tea, and black tea (produced from ancient Shan snow tea trees on the peak of Suoi Giang mountain, Van Chan district, Yen Bai province), Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Le Minh Hoan, stated that from a single ancient tea tree in Suoi Giang, four different types of precious tea can be produced. And the essence of this product is not only selling goods (as dried tea buds) but also selling a whole story. Economic thinking is selling differentiation.


The shift from agricultural production thinking to agricultural economic thinking and the integration of multiple values ​​in agricultural products all lie here. Nowadays, people no longer buy products but buy the way those products are created, including attitudes, culture, stories, and emotions in the process of creating the product. Therefore, whoever can tell the most emotionally rich story through the product will win. This is also a way to enhance the value of Vietnamese tea trees.



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