Advanced equipment on display at the ninth Vietnam International Textile and Garment Exhibition 2009 (VTG 2009) held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in HCMC early this month - Photo: TTXVN
VietNamNet Bridge – The local garment and textile industry’s target of self-sufficiency in material supply in the long term looks unobtainable due to a shortage of investment in new technology and unviable cotton-growing plans, an official said on Monday.
Tran Hung, deputy director of the Light Industry Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that the program of producing one billion meters of fabric by 2015 could not materialize.
Technologies and facilities for the textile sector are obsolete, but enterprises do not have sufficient capital for upgrade projects, he told the Daily on the sidelines of a seminar organized in HCMC on Monday to promote French textile technologies.
The textile industry needs a huge funds amounting to billions of U.S. dollars for technological renovation, particularly for the construction of new yarn manufacturing facilities, he said.
At the moment, garment enterprises are importing some 80% of materials for their production, and the situation cannot be radically changed in the next few years.
Meanwhile, the scheme to expand the area under cotton cultivation in Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces to support the textile industry has almost gone bust, let alone mentioning development, according to Hung.
He said the cotton-growing area in the country had substantially shrunk, from tens of thousands of hectares 10 years ago to between only 3,000 and 4,000 hectares now.
The key reason, he said, is the low and unstable price that does not ensure a profit for farmers.
At on Monday’s seminar named French-Vietnamese Industrial Meeting, other speakers discussed the need to upgrade textile technologies as the key to enhancing competitiveness and coping with the looming labor shortage.
Pham Xuan Hong, vice chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), told the Daily on Monday that the country had some 2,000 large and small garment and textile enterprises using around two million workers, but the country lacked some 200,000 workers to meet the increase of export orders.
“Current labor shortage in the apparel industry climbs to approximately 10%. Most enterprises in this industry have already had production plans and orders to year-end. They can’t afford labor to fulfill any more orders,” Hong said.
He stressed investment in machinery and technologies will help solve partly the labor shortage in this industry now and in the years to come.
“It’s necessary to invest in high technology to boost capacity,” he said, adding “I think to solve the workers shortage basically, the garment and textile industry needs to invest more in technological renovation so as to increase productivity and reduce the labor usage.”
French Economic and Trade counselor Jean-Louis Poli echoed Hong’s point, saying that import of modern machines could help Vietnam solve this problem.
Five French enterprises, comprising Laroche, NSC, Rieter, Superba and Staubli, introduced at the meeting their machinery and technologies for technical and non-woven textile products said to be of great potential at the early stage of development.
Regarding labor shortage, Hung of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said Vietnam would find the problem aggravating in the coming years as low wages in the country discourage workers to stay loyal to their factories.
In the first ten months, Vietnam’s exports of textile and garment dropped by 1.6% to US$7.47 billion year-on-year with export price declining by 10-15%, according to Vitas.
However, due to the strong recovery recently, Vitas expects the garment and textile industry to obtain total export revenue of some US$9.5 billion in 2009, increasing by some 5% year on year. The industry also targets total export revenue of some US$10.5 billion next year.
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