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Developing traditional craft villages in the South West

According to our survey, the profession, success, depth and spread of the traditional village South West is not really clear. This explains the gaps between development planning capabilities handicrafts, effort capital investment and train for rural workers. More difficult with traditional villages in Southwest is under pressure of the market mechanism.

Mr. Lam Van Man, alternate member of the Central Committee, Party Secretary of the Committee Chau Thanh District, Soc Trang Province said: “Difficulties are so much, especially is consumption of products! “'. According to him traditional craft of the local Khmer people mainly make use of natural materials such as bamboo. One more problem is that: between the workers have not gather together, produced at their households, ... The district administration has also thought of finding artists and training traditional jobs for rural laborers, in order to take advantage of local materials and laborers in their free time. Not long ago, village cooperatives based construction by the State, along with crafts production equipment, members of Industrial Promotion Center for vocational training, combined with a study tour experience traditional villages elsewhere. However, the most difficult is still no output products, mainly sold in the markets, fair commune, low prices, mostly workers under orders.

Handmade products with complex materials, low strength are being competed by industrial products with the material of iron, plastic, nylon, high durable, reasonable price, and convenience. The transferring labors from countryside to city is more and more quickly. This is not a small for traditional handicraft villages in retaining employees and artisans. The mechanization of some stages of craft production, with training and improving the skills of workers are applied in traditional handicraft villages.

Visiting Phu Tan Cooperation in Chau Thanh district (Soc Trang Province). Cooperation has been  supported by the Center about many kinds of machines. Training Center supports staffs in cooperation to Dong Thap province, and Kim Hung Crafts in Cai Rang district (Can Tho Province) to learn about knitting and weaving water hyacinth. When they return, they can train villagers about weaving water hyacinth. Another reason is that: people usually use bamboo to knit, so when change to a new material people do slowly. At the same time it’s difficult to gather people in cooperation because they are familiar with way of working at their home to convenient to look after their children.

In Can Tho City Province, handicraft co-operation are formed from villages as: Thanh Cong cooperation, Kim Hung Crafts, Thang Loi Cooperation, attracted more than 500 members and thousands of households labor. With supporting capital, training, materials,…, these co operations have contributed to stability and development of traditional villages. The drawback is that: the products from the co operations have not developed the brand, scale of co operations are small, lack of investment capital in technological innovation.

In fact, the handicraft sector is not really rooted in the rural Mekong Delta, traditional crafts activities also spontaneous, small-scale, small and mostly at home with the raw materials, mainly in their free time,... One of the limitations of the villages in South West is individual activities and business, missing links,…, so it’s difficult to find the output products.

Find the exit

Traditional villages producing cake, sausage of Chau Thanh and My Tu district (Soc Trang Province) to develop strongly. Currently, the traditional village in this field compete well in the market about terms of price, quality and design products. The co operations invested in modern machinery with the secret blend of materials and innovative designs to improve quality of products. Over the years, cake in Tan Hue Vien, sausage in Mai Que Lo increasing the export goods to the United States, Australia... These are things to think about planning and development strategic of traditional villages in the South West.

The traditional villages in South West are moving toward products “ đoc nhat”? However, it’s important to register the brand in order to be certificate for the products when they are sold on the domestic market and abroad. In generally, traditional occupations in the region are the actual products for agriculture, forestry and fishing in local, for examples: weaving baskets, mats in the ethnic Khmer, knitting mesh coastal communes, Phu Quoc fish sauce,... Recently handicraft villages focus on products for travelling and exporting.

Beside contributing of the economy, about jobs for rural workers, traditional villages in Southwest also preserving value of cultural and historic ​​of the country. These values ​​about the culture of traditional villages in Southwestern need special attention in development planning handicraft industries, careful aesthetic elements of patterns, patterns in branding of handicrafts and fine art. Therefore, the traditional village development planning southwestern should integrate with the policies and development solutions based cultural life, poverty alleviation, vocational training for rural workers, building new rural communes.

Now problem is that: training for legacy forces and improving quality of products. A common situation in the South West is that: artisans are older and older, young workers is not interesting in, ready to quit, to leave their hometown to find a new job with higher income in cities and towns. The percentage of trained craftsmen is not much. That is the reason why the traditional villages difficult to expand the scale. Improving the quality of products from selecting material, drying, splitting, polishing, materials, with skilled hands of artisans, sophistication motifs to improve value of traditional craft products in the southwestern villages. Remaining artisans to train classes, open the display of traditional products, combined with product promotional activities of the villages in the area is very necessary.


Luu Quoc Thang