Vietnam coffee imports on the rise

Vietnam, the second largest coffee exporter in the world, is importing more coffee as demand from restaurants, hotels and shops has increased. 

A report from VIRAC, a consultancy firm, shows that Vietnam imported 1 million bags of coffee (60,000 tons) in 2016-2017, an increase of 360,000 bags over the previous period. This included 160,000 bags of instant coffee, 340 bags of roasted coffee and 500,000 bags of coffee beans.

The firm predicted that the import volume would reach 1.06 million bags in the 2017-2018 period. Vietnam imports many kinds of coffee, from coffee beans, roasted beans, and ready-made coffee from Brazil, the US, China, Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia.

Vietnam is the second largest coffee exporter in the world with 26.55 million bags exported in the 2016-2017 crop (60 kilograms per bag). The figure is expected to increase to 26.65 million in 2017-2018. 

Businesses confirm that coffee imports have been increasing steadily year after year. 

CTC’s director Nguyen Quang Binh said 50% of Laos’ total Arabica coffee output (30,000 tons) is sold to Vietnam every year. Several thousands of tons from Cambodia are also sold to Vietnam. 

According to Hoang Van Thuy, general director of Dai Hoang Thuy JSC, Lao coffee has a lower price, VND30,000 per Kilo. It is sometimes blended with Lao coffee. 

He also said that Arabica can only be grown in some areas in Vietnam, so the output is limited and imports are needed to satisfy domestic demand.

An analyst noted that Vietnam has to import coffee in large quantities because of the mushrooming of café chains, from foreign owned chains such as Starbucks, McCafé and Dunkin Donuts to Vietnamese owned ones such as Trung Nguyen and Phuc Long.

The US Department of Agriculture, in a report released in early December, predicted that the coffee volume for Vietnam’s domestic consumption may reach 2.88 million bags in 2017-2018, an increase of 3.97% over the previous period.

According to Binh, most coffee imports are processed and high-quality products served at hotels, restaurants and high-end shops. 

A report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) shows that the total output of processed coffee products accounts for less than 10% of Vietnam’s total output. Vietnam exports mostly raw materials.

The coffee export volume from Vietnam accounts for 20% of the world’s market, but the export value just accounts for 2%, according to the Vietnam Coffee & Cocoa Association (Vicofa).

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