Vietnamese coffee ranks first in productivity and second in export market share in the world. However, the prices of Vietnamese coffee are low, which is always at the bottom among exporting countries.
THE SELLING PRICE IS MUCH LOWER THAN THE COMPETITORS
According to the General Statistics Office, it is estimated that in March 2023, Vietnam exported 230,000 tons of coffee, worth 522 million USD, up 9.2% in quantity and 10.2% in value compared with March 2022. By the end of the Q1 of 2023, our country’s coffee exports are estimated at 572,000 tons, earning nearly 1.27 billion USD. This result is down 1.6% in quantity and 2.3% in value over the same period in 2022.
Vietnam’s coffee is top of the world but the prices are at the bottom among exporting countries.
In the Q1 of 2023, the average export price of Vietnamese coffee was estimated at 2,214 USD/ton, which was down 0.7% compared with the same period last year.
In 2022, our country’s coffee exports reached about 1.78 million tons, earning 4.06 billion USD, up 13.8% in quantity and 32% in value compared with 2021. This is the first year in the history of coffee exports surpassing the 4 billion USD mark.
According to data from the International Coffee Organization, Vietnam ranks second in the world in terms of market share of coffee exports (Feb 2021 – Jan 2022), just behind Brazil. In terms of productivity, Vietnamese coffee ranks first in the world when it reached 2.4 tons/ha. However, the export prices of our country’s coffee are very cheap, which is always at the bottom among exporting countries.
According to data from the European Statistics Office, in 2022, the EU imported 3.05 million tons of coffee, worth 12.81 billion euros (equal to 13.85 billion USD) from non-EU markets.
With an export volume of 662,000 tons, worth nearly 1.54 billion euros (equal to 1.66 billion USD), Vietnam is the second-largest supplier of coffee to the EU market, only behind Brazil.
However, among the five largest non-EU suppliers of coffee to the EU market, the price of Vietnamese coffee is the lowest. Specifically, the price of coffee imported from Brazil is 4,162 EUR/ton; from Honduras is 5,036 EUR/ton; Uganda is 2,539 EUR/ton; and India is 2,728 EUR/ton; while the average price of coffee imported from Vietnam is only 2,323 EUR/ton, far from the prices of Brazil, Honduras, and India.
Similarly, data from the US International Trade Commission shows that, in 11 months of 2022, the US imported coffee mainly from Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Guatemala, and Mexico with an average price of 5,817 USD/ton.
However, the price of coffee imports from Vietnam is only 2,331 USD/ton; from Colombia is up to 6,345 USD/ton (2.7 times higher than the price of Vietnam’s coffee); from Guatemala at 6,082 USD/ton; from Mexico and Brazil at 5,559 USD/ton and 4,315 USD/ton, respectively; and from other markets at 7,727 USD/ton.
SELL RAW AND UNBRANDED COFFEE
Explaining why Vietnam’s coffee export prices are always far behind other countries, Mr. Doan Huu Tue, General Director of My Viet International Group Joint Stock Company (coffee producer and exporter), pointed out that most Vietnamese coffee is exported in raw form, so the price is very low.
To increase value and compete in the market, Vietnamese coffee must have a brand.
Deep-processed coffee helps to increase value, but the proportion of processed products in exports is not much. Not to mention, our country exports mainly Robusta coffee (accounting for about 75.5% of the total coffee export value in 2022) but the price of this type is lower than the price of Arabica coffee.
We have not yet built a national brand for Vietnamese coffee. Therefore, for many years, even though Vietnam has been one of the top coffee-exporting countries in the world, the revenue is low.
“When export prices are low, enterprises will buy coffee from farmers at low prices as a result. In the end, it’s the farmer who suffers, ” Mr. Tue said.
As an enterprise with more than 80% of coffee exports being deep-processed products, Mr. Tue affirmed that the coffee processing technology of Vietnamese enterprises is very modern, not inferior to other countries in the world. However, adding more value to coffee requires the improvement of the quality and the national brand.
“The national brand needs the support of relevant authorities. Enterprises cannot do it alone and it is also difficult to have enough financial resources to make a national brand for the product, ” he stressed.
Colombia exported nearly one million tons, earning 3.2 billion USD and ranking third in the world. Meanwhile, Vietnam exported 1.78 million tons, earning over 4.06 billion USD, which is 30% lower than Colombia’s export value. What makes Colombia’s coffee more valuable is the quality and national brand that the country has built.
At the seminar “Building a national brand for Vietnamese agricultural products” held by Thanh Nien Newspaper on April 6, Mr. Phan Minh Thong – General Director of Phuc Sinh Group – shared the story of successfully building the coffee brand Blue Son La.
“After building the brand, the price of fresh coffee here has increased from 6,500 VND/kg up to 15,000 VND/kg, producing about 400,000 tons. For the first time, Son La farmers in the pandemic have bank deposits of up to 250 billion VND, ” he said. According to Mr. Thong, the price of Son La’s Arabica coffee is much higher than the domestic coffee of Vietnam today.
Earlier, Mr. Le Minh Hoan, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, mentioned that Vietnam ranked second in coffee exports, but no brand has appeared in the top 10 of the most expensive coffee brands in the world.
According to him, the world considers coffee not just a drink. A lot of economic value from coffee trees such as honey from coffee flowers, fertilizer from coffee grounds; fabric dyes, fibers, shoes, etc can be made from coffee.
Regarding the coffee brand, the Minister emphasized that it is necessary to build a brand to compete with other countries. He expects enterprises to reposition when building a brand and tell the story of coffee to bring emotions to consumers./.