Vietnam has overtaken Brazil to become the largest coffee exporter in the world, according to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO).
The Southeast Asian economy shipped 14,325,000 bags abroad in the first six months of this year, 13.63 percent more than Brazil, said the ICO.
Despite a 23.15 percent drop in June, Vietnam retained its leading position for the fifth consecutive month, with 2,075,000 bags delivered to importers.
Vietnam Customs reported that the country earned US$2.2 billion from exporting nearly 1.05 million tonnes of coffee between January-June. The average export price rose 2.57 percent against the previous six months, hitting US$2,154 per tonne.
Meanwhile, the agricultural sector said seven-month coffee exports reached 1.2 million tonnes and fetched US$2.5 billion, a year on year increase of 31.6 percent in volume and 25.4 percent in value.
Notably, Robusta coffee, which has a much lower value than Arabica coffee, accounts for a large proportion of the total export volume, and the price margin between Arabica and Robusta coffee is double the 2009 rate of US$880 per tonne.
The Vietnam Coffee and Cacao Association (Vicofa) said Vietnam’s Arabica coffee exports have increased considerably over the years, from 24,000 tonnes in 2009 to 41,000 tonnes in 2010 and 50,000 tonnes in 2011. The export price has almost doubled, from US$2,313 per tonne in 2009 to US$4,261 per tonne in 2011.
Vietnam’s Arabica coffee is favoured by demanding consumers in the US, Germany, Japan and Belgium. However, processors are running short of this type of coffee for export.
Vietnam is expected to export 55,000 tonnes of coffee from the 2011-2012 crop. To retain its No1 position, Vicofa will zone off high-quality coffee growing areas, crossbreed varieties, and improve the quality of processing.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development aims to expand Arabica coffee acreage to 40,000 hectares by 2020, representing 8 percent of the country’s total area under coffee cultivation.