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Vietnam reviews measures to boost cotton output
May '12
In spite of favourable soil and weather conditions available for growing cotton, Vietnam's cotton output meets just 1.5 percent of the local textile and garment industry's demand, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa said.

Vietnam's domestic textile and apparel industry requires around 400,000 tons of cotton per year, against which the country produces a meagre 5,000 tons of cotton on 12,000 ha of land.

In 2010, Vietnamese Government devised measures to boost cotton farming in the country through cotton production development programme over the next five years, with goals until 2020.

The programme aims at raising country's cotton cultivation acreage to 30,000 ha to achieve an output of 20,000 tons by 2015, and 76,000 ha producing 60,000 tons by 2020.

Also, it seeks to enhance cotton cultivation areas irrigated by stable water supplies rather than having total dependence on rain water.

However, during the meeting to take a review of the decision after a two-year gap, Ms. Thao said it is difficult to meet the goals outlined in 2010 as most of the decisions are still awaiting implementation.

Moreover, legal set-backs also causing hurdles for farmers in obtaining preferential bank loans, resulting in inadequate funds for cotton cultivation.

Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (VINATEX) General Director, Tran Quang Nghi, said provinces like Quang Binh, Binh Thuan and Dak Lak devised a cotton development plan, but due to complex administrative procedures people there are still not clear about the position of cotton production.

He suggested that the region should first set up a sample high-yield cotton field to assess its viability, and then expand the model. Also, he sought regulation allowing conversion of exhausted forests into cotton cultivation areas.

Head of the Ministry's Light Industry Department Phan Chi Dung said even after two years of programme implementation, the country has only two cotton farms employing modern irrigation systems in central Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces.

Low cotton prices and rising cost of fertilizers prevent poor farmers from undertaking cotton cultivation, he said. He suggested establishment of a cotton price stabilisation fund with textile and garment producers contributing two percent of their production costs to the fund, to aid farmers at least recover their production cost in the event of a major fall in prices.

He further said that expanded cotton acreage and productivity would boost competitiveness of the country's cotton sector.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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