Vietnam expects to export an estimated 1.42 million tons of coffee, worth nearly 3 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, a year-on-year decrease of 21.8 percent in volume and 22.6 percent in value, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Tuesday.
The ministry attributed the decrease to difficulties that the Vietnamese coffee sector is facing, including price fluctuations in the domestic and global markets.
In the first eight months of this year, the country shipped 947, 000 tons of coffee abroad, earning 2.09 billion dollars, down 23.2 percent in volume and 22.5 percent in value year on year.
In Vietnam, a coffee crop season lasts from October to the next September. During October 2012 to August this year, the country exported 1.37 million tons of coffee, and the figure is estimated at around 1.41-1.42 million tons by the end of September, said the ministry.
The Vietnamese coffee sector has made a solid growth over the past decade, earning an annual export turnover of 3 billion U.S. dollars. However, while other agricultural products have their export prices increasing over the years, those of coffee exports maintain same levels, even falling to a lower level. In 2007, the domestic coffee price hit 40 million VND (190.4 U.S. dollars) per ton averagely. Currently, ahead of the new crop 2013-2014, coffee prices in Vietnam's Central Highlands fall below 37 million VND ( 176 U.S. dollars) per ton.
Meanwhile, the input investment to coffee cultivation, including fertilizer, water and labor force, increased more than two times compared to those five years ago.
Worse still, bad debts of the coffee sector almost hit 8 trillion VND (over 380 million U.S. dollars), accounting for 60 percent of the agricultural sector's total bad debts, reported the ministry.
As the end of 2012, 56 out of 127 Vietnamese coffee export firms stopped working, or they moved to other lines of production, due to incapable of paying back loans borrowed from the banks.
Vietnamese government recently decided to extend loan payment terms, from 12 months to 36 months, for domestic coffee traders, as well as lower the interest rates of loans, from 16.5-17 percent per year to 11-12 percent per year, in a hope to support the business.
In 2012, Vietnam exported 1.73 million tons of coffee, pocketing 3.68 billion U.S. dollars, up 37.9 percent in volume and 33.9 percent in value year on year.