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Labelling the tea sectors in Ha Giang and Lai Chau

Kok, Joris A. (2009) Labelling the tea sectors in Ha Giang and Lai Chau.

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Abstract:The Vietnamese tea sector is export driven. Vietnamese tea is generally perceived as a low quality tea and attains a low price on the international market. The unrefined overall production process of exported tea and over usage of pesticides are at the root of the quality problem. The tea sectors in the Vietnamese provinces of Ha Giang and Lai Chau suffer from the same problems. SNV (a Dutch development organization) and their partners concluded that adhering to a specific production process and the introduction of a label that is related to this process could be an effective tool to increase the quality of tea from Ha Giang and Lai Chau. The choice was made to investigate the introduction of either a Geographical Indication (GI) for Snow Tea (this is a famous tea from the border region between Vietnam and China) or an organic label for organically grown tea. This raises the question of how SNV and its partners should support this introduction. A multiple case study was designed that uses secondary data to construct a theoretical framework. The framework in turn provides the necessary input to formulate propositions about the topics of the research. These propositions stood at the basis of formulating the required conditions that contribute to the introduction of a GI or an organic label in the Vietnamese tea sector. Primary data was collected (through interviews and observations) to provide an overview of the actual conditions in Ha Giang and Lai Chau in relation to the introduction of a GI or an organic label. Pattern matching is the technique used to analyse the data. From the theoretical framework a pattern is identified that stipulates the perfect situation for the introduction of either a GI or organic label. This pattern is compared to the pattern that is based on the empirical realty. This comparison identifies lacking required conditions and provides input for the support programme or „scope‟ that SNV and its partners should have. A total of 40 required conditions from various sources are identified that all contribute to the introduction of a GI or an organic label. By comparing the 40 actual conditions against the 40 required conditions it can be concluded that for both Ha Giang and Lai Chau the successful introduction of a GI for Snow Tea is not feasible. For both Ha Giang and Lai Chau it can on the other hand be concluded that the successful introduction of an organic label for Snow Tea is feasible. However, there are a large number of lacking conditions that need to be improved or controlled. Hung Cuong Tea Company and Than Uyen Tea Company should play a leading role in respectively Ha Giang and in Lai Chau. Farmer groups should be selected that are located as close to each other as possible. Knowledge in these producer groups and in the supporting parties on organic farming methods, technology, rules, certification methods and the organic market are lacking and should be improved. Labelling the tea sectors in Ha Giang and Lai Chau Page | v In addition, • 1) an organic production site needs to be identified and documented, taking in account contamination factors like other crops and irrigation channels, • 2) farmer and worker training schedules need to be developed, • 3) a sales channel needs to be selected and developed, and finally • 4) control and production tracking systems need to be set up within the producer groups to monitor the isolated organic production chains. After conversion to 100% organic production methods, a three year conversion period will start. During this period the producer group has to produce in accordance with organic rules while it may not yet market its products as organic. After the three year conversion period and after all involved actors are certified, organic certification is attained and products can be labelled and marketed as such. Converting to organic cultivation methods will prove to be a challenging task for the producer group. However, by working together with the supporting parties and the local authorities, this conversion will lead to a significant income increase for all actors in the organic value chain
Item Type:Essay (Master)
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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