Located about 30km northeast of Hanoi, an old village well-known for its mulberries and silk in the northern province of Bac Ninh is on the brink of losing its craft tradition due to unplanned developments, limited production and labour shortages.

At present, only 10 households in Vong Nguyet Village are still growing mulberries and silkworms, and sell pupas to local markets. Three other families have tried to go on by buying cocoons from other provinces for weaving.

Chu Thi Thu, 74, remembered that long ago, during the village's proper trading period, all families planted mulberries and raised silkworms. They all wove silk, and their products were used across the country. But many have given up their traditional work due to lower consumption, and difficulties with technology and investment.

Resident Nguyen Thi Tam said her family grew mulberries and wove silk for more than 30 years, but over the past ten years they cut down their workload. Now they only breed silkworms to sell their pupas at markets.

Some households want to keep doing their traditional work. They go everywhere to buy high quality cocoons to make silk.

Chu Van Bac said his family did this work for 25 years. For the past seven years increasing pollution has stopped them from growing mulberries and silkworms. Moreover, cocoon quality did not meet the increasing requirements of the market, Bac said. These difficulties will soon force his family to quit the trade.

"To maintain production, my family must buy high-quality cocoons from other provinces such as Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Hai Duong, and Vinh Phuc," he added.

Many young people in the village are no longer interested in inheriting their relatives' businesses because of the low incomes they afford. They have taken on other work or moved to cities to find jobs.

Le Dac Khanh, Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Tam Giang Commune, said authorities had encouraged residents to keep traditional craftsmanship alive and coordinated with banks to help them distribute loans and find outlets for the products.-VNA