Exporting Coffee

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Recommendations to Vietnam
Vietnam should establish a cooperation mechanism between coffee growers and producers, especially individual farmers. In Vietnam, VICOFA is currently an association of coffee exporters, so coffee producers are not represented by VICOFA. This leads to the vulnerability of farmers to external changes in the world market. The operation of the National Federation of Coffee Growers in Colombia, with different representative layers from the grassroots up to the national level, can be an example to Vietnam. Vietnam is well known in the world in terms of coffee quality, but does not have a national trademark for coffee. Vietnam should consider a label similar to Colombia’s “100 per cent Colombian coffee” label. Although Vietnam’s government is encouraging the transition from Robusta to Arabica varieties to improve added value, some businesses are afraid of unsuitable weather conditions in Vietnam, as well as the expensive investment needed to process Arabica. In addition, the transition will lead to direct competition with Colombia. Rather than shifting to Arabica, Vietnam should build coffee specialties. Vietnam already has some experience of coffee specialization, for example with “culi” coffee. Development of coffee specialties will enhance the added value and avoid competition with other exporters. In the instant coffee market segment, expensive investment in processing facilities and marketing activities are the reasons that there are only a few large trademarks in Colombia and the rest of the world, such as Nestlé. However, in Vietnam, many companies are planning to enter this segment. This decision needs to be considered carefully because Vietnam already has some successful instant coffee trademarks, such as Vinacafe, Nestle, G7 and Moment.
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