Last updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Unilever Promotes Sustainable Tea Development in VietnamPosted: Sunday, May 20, 2012
In early January 2012, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and Unilever in Vietnam signed the official MOU on the Vietnam Tea Initiative with the presence of Mr Bui Ba Bong, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development; Mr Vikram Agarwal, Vice President, Tea Procurement of Unilever; Mr JV Raman, Chairman of Unilever Vietnam; other representatives from MARD and Unilever, and representatives from other Government agencies and the media.
Being the world’s largest player in the tea industry, Unilever is strongly committed to expanding its tea supply base in Vietnam and to furthering its support for Vietnamese tea producers, especially in sustainability, quality and safety, thus contributing to the development of the tea industry in Vietnam.
This partnership is a concrete action taken by Unilever to implement the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) launched by the Company in late 2010, under which sourcing 100 percent of agricultural materials from sustainable sources is one of 3 key outcomes that the Plan aims to achieve by 2020. The partnership also has the potential of meaningfully involving an estimated 50,000 – 70,000, smallholder farmers in the tea supply chain. A key initiative then helps Unilever achieve USLP goal of linking in more than 500,000 smallholder farmers and small-scale distributors into our supply chain by 2020.
This partnership in Vietnam also showcases Unilever Vietnam’s long-term confidence and commitment to the Vietnamese market, further consolidating its position as a leading and most successful fast moving consumer goods company in Vietnam, and furthering its strong commitments to make Vietnamese lives better. Since the beginning of its operation in Vietnam, Unilever Vietnam has been committed to helping improve the lives of the Vietnamese through its solid business performance and contributions to the country’s socio-economic development; its continuous investment in impactful social and community initiatives, and its strong dedication to environmental protection. Unilever Vietnam has done so through its joint efforts and partnerships with the Government, the NGOs, with its partners and customers, as well as through the great contributions by its employees in Vietnam.
· Tea plantations in Vietnam are mainly concentrated in the north and north-central mountainous regions. There are about 700 processing plants in Vietnam and up to 6 million people live on tea farming and processing, which gives the industry a key role in reducing poverty in the nation's remote, mountainous areas.
· To be competitive in pricing and flexible in manufacturing, Vietnamese producers need to start benchmarking their processes with production/manufacturing best practices from leading tea areas such as India, Sri Lanka and Kenya. A lot can be achieved through a transfer of leading edge tea production techniques. Yields can be improved by more sustainable agronomic practices.
· To expand and secure its market, Vietnamese producers must work at improving quality and lifting the overall spectrum of cup quality for all types. Further, obsolete and inefficient machinery that is still widely used in the sector should be systematically modernised to achieve higher productivity and lower conversion costs.