Thai Nguyen brews up a tasty tea festival

On the occasion of the First International Tea Festival–Thai Nguyen, Vietnam 2011 to be held in northern Thai Nguyen province from November 11–15, vice chairman of the provincial people’s committee Dang Viet Thuan tells VIR about this event.
Dang Viet Thuan

Could you please give us a brief overview of the First International Tea Festival-Thai Nguyen, Vietnam 2011?

Thai Nguyen takes great honour to be assigned by the government to join hands with other tea-growing provinces nationwide to organise this important event which honours Vietnamese tea plants and promotes tea products to domestic and international tourists.

This is a chance for Vietnam and international friends in general and Thai Nguyen and tea-growing provinces in particular to exchange experiences in planting, processing and consuming tea in a bid to raise the value of Vietnamese tea products as well as tea products of Thai Nguyen, a famous trademark which has got a firm foothold in internal and external markets with its unique flavours.

The festival is also a chance to introduce and promote Vietnamese tea culture and attract investors to make joint ventures and go into partnership with local ones in producing, processing and consuming tea products, therefore, creating a driving force for socio-economic development in Thai Nguyen in particular and the Viet Bac region as a whole as it moves towards international economic integration.

The festival will take place from November 11-15. It will have six key features - the opening ceremony, the Thai Nguyen tea international workshop, a tea culture carnival, a tea-land beauty contest, an exhibition introducing the nation and people of Vietnam and Thai Nguyen and a closing ceremony. In addition, the festival has other activities such as visiting tea-growing areas and tourist sites, and street carnivals.

The First International Tea Festival-Thai Nguyen, Vietnam 2011 is slated to attract the participation of 10 countries and territories, 30 tea-growing provinces and cities across the country, 30 traditional trade villages and 25 tea trading businesses in Thai Nguyen province.

Tea is just one of the province’s many charms

What preparations has Thai Nguyen made for the approaching festival?

In order to succeed in organising the First International Tea Festival-Thai Nguyen, Vietnam 2011, the provincial people’s committee is dedicating itself to preparations. Logistics work for the festival has basically been finished. Electricity supply to the festival site and tourist areas, accommodation for travellers, restaurants, tea-rooms and tea showrooms are all ready.

The province has also strengthened the verification of the quality of tea products in the market and is fighting against the trade of low-quality tea products. It is training more than 300 tourist guides to serve the festival. Publications on promoting Thai Nguyen tea products in Vietnamese, English and Chinese have been issued.

So far, preparations for the First International Tea Festival-Thai Nguyen, Vietnam 2011 are on schedule.

How do you assess developments in tea growing and tea production in Thai Nguyen province? What solutions have been taken by the province to develop tea-growing areas and raise the quality of tea products?

Presently, Thai Nguyen has a total tea-growing area of over 17,500 hectares for an annual output of roughly 160,000 tonnes of fresh buds. Cultivated areas focus on the districts of Dai Tu, Dong Hy, Phu Luong, Dinh Hoa and Pho Yen.

Annually, Thai Nguyen provides some 22,000 tonnes of tea for provinces and cities countrywide to earn total revenues of VND2.86 trillion ($138.2 million). Besides, the province ships its tea products to overseas markets such as France, China, Japan and Taiwan. Since 2007, Thai Nguyen has averaged exports of some 7,500 tonnes of tea each year.

The province is ramping up its shift in tea varieties. The tea plant development plan has the locality targeting a new plantation or re-plantation of 1,000ha of tea by 2015. Accordingly, the total area of tea for trading is predicted to be 17,200ha producing a yield of 120,000 kilogrammes per hectare per year and earning VND160 million ($7,729) per hectare annually.

The province is also targeting a 100 per cent clean tea area by 2020 as it moves towards building a strong trademark for tea plants and tea products of Thai Nguyen.