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US shows interest in VN coffee

Update: June, 11/2010 - 10:26
Farmers in the Central Highland Province of Dak Lak harvest coffee. US coffee companies display interest in Vietnamese coffee. — VNA/VNS Photo Sy Huynh

Farmers in the Central Highland Province of Dak Lak harvest coffee. US coffee companies display interest in Vietnamese coffee. — VNA/VNS Photo Sy Huynh

HA NOI — US coffee companies displayed interest in Vietnamese coffee during recent meetings in New York between Vietnamese coffee exporters and their US partners, according to the Viet Nam Coffee and Cacao Association (Vicofa).

Vicofa and the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Centre in New York held a trade conference for coffee businesses to boost exports to the US.

The activity was part of a trade promotion programme to highlight Viet Nam's coffee export sector.

Alan Kaiser, director of External Relations and Communications for the US National Coffee Association, said the conference would help acquaint US giant coffee processors such as Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and Kraft Foods with Vietnamese coffee.

Vietnamese businesses expressed their hope to promote their coffee brand-names to the US and trade directly with US partners.

The US has become Viet Nam's second biggest coffee importer with a total turnover of US$257 million in 2009, according to Vicofa.

The US Department of Agriculture recently reported that coffee production in Viet Nam was forecast to rise 7 per cent next year because of favourable weather.

Output would increase to 18.7 million 60-kg bags in the 12 months starting October 1 this year from an estimated 17.5 million.

Robusta coffee accounts for 97 per cent of the country's total output. Arabica production is projected to rise because of the expansion of growing areas.

Last year, Viet Nam's export volume of Robusta rose 10 per cent to 1.17 million tonnes, with its value dropping 19 per cent to $1.7 billion.

Coffee exports in May were estimated at 120,000 tonnes and worth $166 million. Exports in the first five months of this year saw a year-on-year decline of 11.4 per cent in volume to 584,000 tonnes and 17.3 per cent in value to $810 million.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the export price of coffee has continued to decline. The average export price in the first five months was at $1,386 per tonne, 7.51 per cent lower than that in the same period of last year.

To deal with the decline in price, which has led to losses for farmers, the Government has approved a plan to purchase coffee for stockpiling as part of a strategy to wait for higher world prices.

The Ministry of Finance on Tuesday issued Circular 83/2010/TT-BTC guiding the availability of bank loans with preferential interest rates for purchasing the 2009-10 crop's coffee for stockpiling.

The coffee trading enterprises assigned to temporarily store the 2009-10 crop's coffee would be able to take loans from the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development in Viet Nam at a preferential interest rate of 6 per cent per year during the coffee purchasing period for stockpiling from April 15 to October 15. — VNS

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