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Handicraft industry standing at crossroads
Dec '08
Vietnam has a very vibrant handicraft industry and the roots of the sector are spread across the country from urban to more particularly the rural areas. Infact it is the rural areas more so, which are helping in keeping alive the age old traditions in the country. Exports of handicrafts are also doing very well, thanks to these artisans. Handicraft exports in 2007 stood at US $824 million.

But the artisans are facing a very piquant situation, wherein, they are running out of raw materials for creating the exquisite handicraft products for the export markets and for which they are famous, all over the world. Added to this, is the economic crisis which is making things more difficult for the sector.

There are over 2,000 small and big villages engaged in manufacturing of handicrafts; thereby providing employment to hundreds of thousands of people. The artisans are mainly involved in creating handicrafts from cloth, wood, rattan and bamboo. The main reason for the scarcity of raw materials is that the sources for sourcing the vital raw materials are drying up.

Experts are suggesting sustainable exploitation of forests and its resources; otherwise they warn that in a few years time, there would not be any raw material of consequence left for the industry to survive. They suggest involving these rural artisans and teaching them the basic tenets of sustainability of these assets, so vital for their survival.

The other most important speed breaker coming in the further development of the sector is the availability of credit to these handicraft units and artisans. Either the banks are not willing to provide credit to these artisans, or those who have access to funds from banks have to do with high interest rates which is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the sector multiplying at a solid growth rate.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - Vietnam

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