Craft villages
Weaving machines have nearly replaced all ancient looms in the making of silk products in Van Phuc silk village, Hanoi. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyet

In recent years, traditional craft villages have made significant contributions to the national economy.

According to statistics from the Vietnam Traditional Craft Village Association, there are more than 5,400 craft villages across the country but most of the villages are small scale and products are made by hand.

“The Vietnamese craft village system has a long tradition. But they are facing many difficulties to keep up with today's economic and social developments,” said Luu Duy Dan, the association’s president.

“If we do not integrate or catch up with international standards, our craft villages will continue lagging behind and be unable to escape manual and small-scale production,” Dan said.

“So, the villages must apply technological advances in production for sustainable development and higher productivity and competitiveness,” he said.

According to Ha Thi Vinh, general director of Quang Vinh Ceramics Ltd., Company in Bat Trang Ceramic Village of Hanoi’s Gia Lam District, the use of technology in production has helped reduce production costs by more than 30 per cent.

More importantly, the percentage of defective products has dropped significantly and the design of the products are also more diverse thanks to machine production, said Vinh.

“Our products are more competitive in the market,” said the general director.

Meanwhile, Pham Khac Ha, president of Van Phuc Wormsilk Craft Village’s Association in Ha Dong District, Van Phuc Village now has 200 households engaged in silk weaving.

Before, most of the silk products were woven manually. But in recent years, many households have shifted to using machines, said Ha.

This has helped Van Phuc silk products meet higher demands in terms of quantity, quality and design, he said.

Similarly, environmental problems in Phu Do Village's rice noodle production were effectively solved thanks to using machines and renewable energy in production stages such as powder grinding, mixing and cooking.

The discharge of residue and wastewater into the Nhue River was stopped.

 

In fact, mechanisms to encourage and support craft village households to innovate technology, apply science and technology through industrial promotion policies, industrial and handicraft development projects have made many households change their thinking of production to invest in modern machines to improve efficiency.

More importantly, the change has helped craft villages shorten manual production stages, reduce their labour force and improve their environmental impact.

Dao Hong Thai, director of the Hanoi Industrial Promotion and Development Consultation Centre, said many traditional craft villages had applied technological advances in production with the assistance of the municipal authority and ministries.

Since 2016, the centre had provided assistance for 64 rural industrial entities to innovate technologies in production] to increase labour productivity and reduce environmental pollution, according to the centre’s director.

This year, Hanoi aims that craft villages will account for 8.5 per cent of total industrial economic value.

The infrastructure of 50 villages will be improved and environmental issues of the 50 worst polluting villages are expected to be solved.

About 1 million jobs for rural areas will be created with per capita income of VND35-40 million (US$1,500-1,700) per year.

In 2021-2025, the city has set targets that more than 10,000 businesses and rural industrial establishments will get assistance from the city’s industrial promotion programme, while 50,000 jobs will be created for rural workers, export turnover from handicraft products will increase by 5-8 per cent and 20,000 items with modern designs for export will be produced, said Thai.

To achieve these goals, the city will continue to implement many policies to support craft villages, focusing on encouraging the application of new technologies to replace manual production, he said.

The production establishments will also be given financial assistance to expand facilities and labour training.

Along with technological application to increase productivity and cut production costs, branding for craft villages is also vital for sustainable development, said Dan.

The villages should push co-operation in branding and promoting products in international markets, he suggested.­ VNS

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