Viet Nam Trade Villages Association Vice President Luu Duy Dan spoke to e-newspaper Doanh nhan Viet Nam Toan cau (Global Vietnamese Businessmen) about the need to preserve trade villages.
Some traditional trade villages risk extinction. How can they be preserved and developed?
Preserving a trade village means preserving traditional cultural values of the locality. Moreover, Viet Nam's economy still depends on agriculture and light industry so preserving the villages is necessary.
|Artisans produce pottery in Luy Lau Pottery Village in northern Bac Ninh Province's Thuan Thanh District. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
There are 4,500 trade villages across the country, some of which find it difficult to maintain and develop their trades. They have yet to receive proper investment and the labour force doesn't have the skills required to produce export quality as they merely learn from each other and hardly undergo any official training.
To develop, trade villages need to adjust to meet modern industrial demands and sustainable production. It is also necessary to change the attitude to trades from being an extra job in idle time to an important part of the country's industrialisation and modernisation.
Moreover, trade village development must be part of socio-economic plans, aimed at raising incomes and preserving cultural values.
What can we do to promote products of trade villages overseas?
Trade villages enjoy plenty of opportunities to introduce their products overseas in the time of international integration. Products, including handicraft, embroidery and pottery, are exported to more than 100 countries around the world. Scientific and technological applications are the key to sustainable production that will help the products access national and international markets.
For example, in pottery production in Ha Noi's Bat Trang Village, the shift from wood-fired, coal-fired ovens to gas ovens has increased productivity and quality with less labour.
Is the labour shortage a major challenge for trade villages?
Yes, it is. Statistics show the number of workers at trade villages reduces by 35 per cent a year. There are villages at risk of losing traditional occupations because young people have no interest in it. They get little pay for long hours.
It is difficult to train workers but even more difficult to keep them.
The association asked the Government to offer training for workers in trade villages and last year 7,000 labourers undertook free training courses which helped fill the vacancies.
We must raise awareness among young people of the need to preserve traditional trades in their villages.
What do you think about environmental pollution in trade villages?
Pollution has reached alarming levels in many trade villages, threatening the environment, human health and the survival of the villages themselves. The people who cause pollution are also its victims. Small-scale spontaneous development and financial shortages are the main causes. To solve the problem, it is necessary to introduce comprehensive measures to improve law enforcement and improve public awareness. — VNS