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98% of cotton requirement met through imports
Sep '08
Vietnam has been considered amongst the top ten textile and garment exporters in the world in 2007. But unfortunately it is highly dependent on imports of the most basic raw material needed in the industry; cotton.

In fiscal year 2007, Vietnam imported 212,000 tons of cotton, worth US$ 268 million, up by 17% and 22.4% respectively over 2006.

The US remains' the largest supplier, with imports of 63,952 tons totaling to US $ 81 million. The second highest imports came from India which in all shipped just under half of what Vietnam imported from the US.

Shipments from India came to 32,777 tons worth $40.17 million. Taiwan with 15,439 tons and $18.41 million, Switzerland 14,044 tons and $18.41 million and UK with 6,291 tons and $8.08 million came third, fourth and fifth respectively in terms of highest imports in to Vietnam.

The reasons for this high dependence on imports is not far to seek. Land allocated to cotton cultivation has been sharply reduced in recent years.

The 2003-04 cotton crop was the country's largest, with 31,187ha allocated to growing the crop. By 2007-08 the cotton farm area was reduced to less than 7,000ha, and output was only 2,600 tonnes of fibre. This met only 2 per cent of the domestic textile and garment industry's needs.

Farmers have stopped growing cotton and switched to alternative crops such as maize, potato, cassava, beans, chilli and tobacco which attract higher prices relative to cotton.

Economists predict that looking at the current conditions, they foresee a situation where cotton will no longer be grown in the country by 2010.

Click here to view import data.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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