Vietnam is the World’s Biggest Coffee Exporter

October 23, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. outdo (v.)
[out-doo] – to surpass or to do something better than another
Example: China outdid the US as the number one exporter in the world last year.

2. efficiency (n.) [ih-fish-uhn-see] – the state of being effective or producing good results without waste in time, money or other resources
Example: Production efficiency depends on the skill and speed of workers. 

3. hectare (n.) [hek-tair] – a unit of measure equal to 10,000 square meters
Example: In the year 2000, about 4.2 million hectares of tobacco were developed worldwide.

4. foremost (adj.) [fawr-mohst, -muhst, fohr-] – leading or first
Example: Japan is one of the foremost car makers in the world.

5. give the green light (idiom) [giv] [thuh] [green] [layht] – to give approval or permission
Example: The government gave the green light for builders to start the new road project.

Read the text below.

Vietnam has become the largest coffee supplier in the world, outdoing Brazil this year.

Most of Vietnam’s exports are robusta coffee beans, which have high caffeine content but are cheaper compared to other beans. These beans are used in making instant coffee and espresso.  

But Trung Nguyen, the country’s largest coffee company, aspires to improve Vietnam’s image, to let people know Vietnam is not just a cheap coffee exporter. Dang Le Nguyen, chairman of the company, says the country’s coffee culture is not well-known around the world.

Nguyen explains that Vietnam has the best robusta coffee beans, but the packaging, advertising and story-telling of Vietnamese coffee need to be improved. Nguyen’s company has been trying to introduce new coffee products and work with farmers to increase quality and efficiency in coffee production.

Ma Chuong, who has been a coffee farmer for over 30 years, says the company has really helped raise production by creating better watering systems. The new systems have boosted production efficiency from 800 kilograms to 2,040 kilograms per hectare.

However, Le Ngoc Bau, director of Vietnam’s Western Highlands Agro-Forestry Scientific and Technical Institute, fears that Vietnam’s status as the world’s foremost coffee exporter may not last long.

He says the government has not made laws to increase coffee production. Last August, the government gave the green light to a plan that will limit coffee farms to only 500,000 hectares by the year 2030, but will increase farming of higher value crops for export.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         How would good packaging, advertising and story-telling change what foreigners think about Vietnamese coffee?
·         Do you agree that the quality of a product is more important than the quantity or amount? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What kind of imported products do you like to buy? Why do you buy them?
·         What products from your country are popular in other countries? Why do you think these products are successful abroad?


October 23, 2012