Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) is to invest VND3,500bn (US$198m) into cotton plantations between 2009 and 2020 in a bid to restore the country's industry.

Vinatex will focus on three provinces in Central Highland named Dac Nong, Dac Lac and Gia Lai. It will support the cotton farmers there with cotton seeds, planting technology and equipment, as well as buying their cotton.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has also signed off a government decision to distribute free cotton seed to farmers in five provinces.

Vinatex will deliver 7.55 tones of cotton seed to these province without fee, including Binh Thuan province (4.39 tones), Dien Bien (1 tone), Dong Nai (0.9 tones), Binh Phuoc (0.9 tones) and Ninh Thuan (0.36 tones).

A report shows that Vietnam's textile and garment industry imported 200,000 tones cotton per year on average for local production. The current area of cotton planting in the Central Highland is just 1,000 ha, much reduced from 16,000 ha in 2002.
By Ngo Tuan.