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Hue craft villages given lifeline

Update: October, 10/2013 - 10:50
Basket case: Bamboo knitted products during the drying process in Bao La Village in Thua Thien Hue Province. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu

THUA THIEN HUE  (VNS ) — Traditional craft villages in Hue get a chance to foster a revival during modern times thanks to a support package valued at VND9 billion (US$430,000) from the local budget.

The package will focus on improving capacity of the villages, including capacity improvement for managers and skilled workers, and innovation in product design to meet the needs of modern lifestyles.

The disbursement will include training programmes for new workers, aiming at creating jobs for at least 1,500 rural labours, and waste treatment in the craft villages.

Central Thua Thien Hue Province is home to more than 80 traditional craft villages, but few have thrived in the current of modern life. The Bao La bamboo knitting, for instance, is maintaining the traditional craft under the form of a cooperative.

Meanwhile, the Thanh Tien paper flower village has fewer than 10 households working in paper lotus production. The production depends on contracts with artisan Than Van Huy, who revived the craft in 2006.

Households in the Phuong Duc bronze casting are facing big losses at a time when their products are too heavy for tourists to take home, while locals prefer intricate bronze products from mainland China and Taiwan for their ritual purposes.

However, experts wonder if the package from Thua Thien Hue Province People's Committee will produce effective results.

Experts concerned about the effectiveness of the package say training more workers would be a huge waste at a time when products are not being sold in the market.

"The best is finding a stable market for Hue's crafts," said artisan Than Van Huy of the Thanh Tien paper flower village.

Huy suggested an investment in a demonstration house in the city, where visitors to the former royal city can watch artisans from the villages make their crafts. The demonstration would inspire tourists to buy the crafts as well, he said.

He also wanted roads leading to the villages upgraded since rural roads are inconvenient for visits. — VNS


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