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Govt drafts plan to raise cotton production
Sep '08
Statistics show that Vietnam has been facing acute shortage of cotton for past couple of years and the problem has just gotten worse.

During the 2007-08 year the cotton growing area came down to less than 7,000 ha, and yield reached only 2,600 tons of fibre. This met only 2 percent of the domestic textile and garment industry's needs.

Experts say that with global cotton acreage shrinking for 2008-09 year, the shortage of this natural fibre will only become more pronounced.

Recognizing this, Ministry of Industry and Trade and Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), together have drafted a plan that may greatly ease this issue.

The plan, requiring an investment of over VND3.6 trillion or nearly US $215 million, will focus on developing not only cotton-growing areas but also new textile and dyeing industrial zones.

Experts say that the key reason for this dire situation is that farmers stopped producing cotton because it is too much hard work and reaps minimal profits. Now, farmers are shifting crops that earn them better incomes.

Analysts stress that with current conditions cotton will no longer be grown in the country by 2010.

Textile and garment industry is one of the key pillars of economy and is growing steadily. Today, this sector requires around 200,000 tons of cotton fibre per year. Thus, reliance on imported material has increased significantly.

Government is aiming to produce more than 1 billion square meters of cloth to serve exports by 2015.

By 2020, 40,000ha of land will be allotted in 13 localities of the central highlands and southern area of Central Vietnam to grow cotton.

Large investments will be needed to reimburse site clearance, irrigation systems, transport and saplings.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Bui Xuan Khu announced that the textile and garment sector would request the Government to establish eight industrial zones for dyeing and textiles in Hung Yen, Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, Ninh Binh, Da Nang, Long An, Nha Trang and Binh Thuan from 2008 to 2012.

In the next stage, from 2012 to 2015, other industrial zones will be built in Nghe An, Quang Tri, Tien Giang and Tra Vinh provinces.

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