Ministry promotes added value
A worker operates a fibre production line at Ha Nam Textile Co at Chau Son Industrial Zone, Ha Nam Province. Although the Viet Nam is a big garment export, the industry has to pay billions of dollars to import fibre every year. — VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI — The Ministry of Industry and Trade is conducting a survey of the cotton industry to help increase the level of added value in the nation's textile and garment products and help the garment industry reduce its dependence on imported raw materials.
The Viet Nam Cotton and Fibre Association said 2000 remained the best year for the cotton industry, with a total area under cultivation of 32-36,000ha. This fell to just 17,300ha in 2006-07 and only 3,000ha in 2008, before recovering last year to 10,400ha. In the meantime, domestic cotton production has met just 1 per cent of local demand, the association said.
Viet Nam Textile and Garment Corporation (Vinatex) general director Mai Hoang An said Viet Nam needed 370,000 tonnes of cotton for domestic production while local supplies met only 4,000 tonnes of this demand, with the rest being imported.
In 2010, garment exports totalled US$11.2 billion, but the industry imported cloth and fibres worth $6.5 billion, An said. While the gross export value of Vietnamese garments was high, the net added value of these exports remained low due to this need to import materials, he noted.
Tran Hung, deputy head of of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Light Industry Department, said development of cotton growing in Viet Nam depended greatly on weather, and the output and quality of domestic cotton in Viet Nam was low and unstable.
To boost the cotton industry, State budget resources have been allocated to give financial support for building infrastructure, including irrigation systems for cotton-growing regions. The plan was expected to improve output and quality of local cotton, increasing the competitiveness of Vietnamese cotton.
Viet Nam Cotton and Fibre Association chairman Tran Dang Tuong also urged the development of a model cotton farm with high output and good quality as an example to other growers.
The State should also consider a cotton price stabilisation fund to give financial support to cotton growers and ensure price stability, he said. It could also provide assistance to investors seeking to grow cotton on large areas.
The Government currently targets a total growing area for cotton of 30,000ha with average output of 1.5-2 tonnes per hectare by 2015. — VNS