Trà Vinh Province develops traditional craft villages

August 24, 2023 - 08:23
Trà Vinh Province is actively supporting the growth of its traditional craft villages, aiming to boost production and improve the incomes of its workers.
Making dried fish in the seafood processing craft village in Cầu Ngang District in Trà Vinh Province. – VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Hoà

TRÀ VINH – Trà Vinh Province is actively supporting the growth of its traditional craft villages, aiming to boost production and improve the incomes of its workers.

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province has 13 such villages with nearly 7,800 production establishments that have 36,400 workers.

They produce agricultural, forestry and food products like bánh tét (glutinous rice cake filled with pork fat and green beans and wrapped in banana leaves), bamboo and wooden items, mats, brooms, ornamental plants, flowers, and handicrafts.

But most of these enterprises operate at a household scale and grapple with limited resources for investing in modern production facilities and expanding output.

Lê Văn Đông, deputy director of the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, emphasised the historical role of these craft villages in generating rural employment, supplementing incomes and contributing significantly to the establishment of new-style rural areas.

Nonetheless, a predominant reliance on traditional production methods, constrained investment capital and outdated facilities mean their products are not diverse and unable to meet consumer demands.

Some villages face a scarcity of locally sourced raw materials and workforce, which impede their production capacities.

An illustration of this situation is the seafood-catching and processing village in Mỹ Long Town in Cầu Ngang District. The number of production units here has seen a 50 per cent reduction in recent years, and the 500-strong workforce now has monthly income of VNĐ3-5 million (US$130-210) each.

Lương Văn Giàu, who has produced dried fish and shrimp for 10 years, said his family and others have faced difficulty in the last three years due to a decline in catches, causing them to buy fish and shrimp from traders.

His family only produces 50-70kg of dried fish and shrimp a day, down 30kg from previous years, he added.

Nguyễn Văn Dài, chairman of the Mỹ Long Town People’s Committee, said producers depend on local fishing output for raw materials, but a dearth of fishing ports for docking vessels and the reduction in boats from 100 to 35 has disrupted supply.

This means they have to source fish and shrimp from traders.

Addressing these challenges, the province is allocating both central and local funding to upgrade infrastructure in traditional craft villages.

The focus includes sewage systems and environmental protection measures. To aid their progress, each traditional craft village is receiving VNĐ50 million ($2,100) to establish environmental protection plans and seek recognition as official craft villages.

Trà Vinh is also fostering an environment conducive to trade promotion activities, facilitating market expansion for these craft villages.

Participation in the national "One Commune-One Product" initiative, diversification of products, quality improvement, product design innovation, stakeholder collaboration in production and marketing, and the application of advanced techniques are all encouraged.

To enhance production efficiency and competitiveness, soft loans are provided to production units and households in the craft villages, encouraging the adoption of advanced technologies and the creation of novel products.

Đông stressed that, aside from state support, the villages must leverage their experience and creativity, revamp production and sales methods and meet market demands to ensure survival and growth.

Emphasising the need for a transformative mindset, investment in machinery and technology for improved product quality and designs and alignment with domestic market and export needs, he added that the future of traditional craft villages hinges on adaptability and modernisation. – VNS