12:10 | 16/06/2019 Industry
(VEN) - A number of traditional craft makers in the north-central coastal province of Thanh Hoa, including Nga Son’s sedge mats and Tho Xuan’s matting sedge, cannot make a living any longer. They are nostalgic for the golden age of their crafts and passionate about preserving their ancestors’ legacy.
Instability in sedge craft
In 2018, the area of sedge cultivation in the district dropped to a record low, due to the steep drop in the price of sedge mats, said Duong Dinh Diu, chair of the Thanh Hoa Sedge Mats Association. In past years, the sedge mats exported to China in unofficial trade sold for a bare minimum in terms of covering makers’ costs. Official trading, on the other hand, resulted in high prices. The resulting decline in demand for sedge for traditional handicraft production led to the adjustment of the crop structure in local policies.
Recently, the export of sedge products to China has shown signs of recovery, but the procurement of raw sedge has become more difficult due to the decline in cultivation areas and the shift of the labor force to various industry sectors. The decline in cultivation along with renewed demand have also resulted in higher costs of raw materials. In order to preserve traditional artisanship, Nga Son District government and dozens of villages producing sedge mats have to find new directions, diversify sedge products and searching for new markets.
The policy of reducing the sedge cultivation area, recently, has created filtering and oriented enterprises that has needs of sedge materials to be responsible for the farmers, thereby increasing the value of sedge.
Fading bamboo plywood craft
Residents of Tho Nguyen Village in Tho Xuan District have been producing woven bamboo plywood for centuries and were able to make a decent living doing so. However, the decline in demand has led many to shift to other work and the traditional craft is on the verge of oblivion.
More than a decade ago, almost every family in Tho Xuan took part in this industry. In the “golden age” of this handicraft industry, nearly a dozen truckloads arrived daily carrying bamboo from the mountainous districts for the production of bamboo plywood.
However, the decline in demand has led many to shift to other work and the traditional craft is on the verge of oblivion.
|Traditional craft makers in Thanh Hoa are struggling to find a sustainable living based on their centuries old crafts.|