President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan called for more support to Vietnamese craft villages for the sake of the national economy and culture during a workshop in Hanoi on April 20.

As of the late 2014, the nation had over 5,000 craft villages, more than 1,700 of which are accredited, notably the popular Van Phuc silk or Dong Ky wooden villages.

Last year, bamboo and rattan items brought home 250.6 million USD while ceramics and pottery took in 508.2 million USD.

As many as 38 of 63 provinces nationwide have approved a programme to preserve and develop craft villages.

According to the Departments of Industry and Trade based in 60 of 63 provinces, there are nearly 2,900 industrial and handicraft villages across the country; about half are from Hanoi and employ roughly 800,000 workers.

Participants expressed concerns about the sustainable development of craft villages, considering their weak competitiveness and limited access to markets, capital and technological advances.

Since the ASEAN Economic Community and free trade agreements are to come into effect later this year, craft villages will inevitably face intense competition, they added.

Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang asked production and trading facilities within villages to form plans to adjust designs and prices towards developing a set of technical standards for their products.

Villages offering the same crafts should join together to consolidate their competitive strength, he said, suggesting a cooperative deal among the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Natural Resources and Environment, and Industry and Trade, and the Vietnam Craft Village Association under the auspices of the VFF with a view to developing craft villages.

President Nhan concurred with proposals put forth at the event, saying the model of cooperatives or craft household-business joint ventures will lower input costs and bring products to a wider market.

He also underscored the need to renew collaboration between ministries, agencies and localities for the cause.-VNA