On the brink of oblivion
Women of the Thai ethnic minority in Hoa Tien brocade weaving village (Chau Tien Commune, Quy Chau District, Nghe An Province) have been well-known for their brocade weaving techniques and skills for many generations. Brocade weaving is not only a job that brings high income but also a way through which the weavers send their sentiments, and local people usually habituate themselves to the work when they are very young (from six to seven years old). Through the colors or patterns on a brocade product, viewers know it is made by a young happy girl or by a fervid experienced woman.
However, Hoa Tien brocade production before 2010 was on the brink of oblivion as it was competed by cheaper and more convenient industrial fabrics. Revenues from this occupation no longer supported livings and there were more and more young women left their homes to work in big cities.
Head of Hoa Tien Brocade Cooperative Sam Thi Bich recalled that at the time, brocade production of Hoa Tien village was so sombre and most of the young weavers were not interested in doing this job. They found it difficult to earn their livings with income ranging only from VND400,000 – 600,000 per person per month and many of them had to quit their jobs.
According to research findings conducted by JP, the reason leading to more and more difficult situation of Hoa Tien brocade production was backwardness in production of the craft village. The weavers use very simple production tools, the material source is not very good, along with unattractive patterns and the color of products is not equal and durable.
And a marvelous change
June 2010 marked the revival of Hoa Tien brocade weaving village as it was one of the production units that received supports from the JP.
Through research results, the JP has built a value chain for Hoa Tien brocade weaving. The JP started its activities in support of the mulberry production in Quy Chau District. The new high-yield mulberry variety VH13 with technical supports and seedlings have been provided to 75 local households to plant mulberry trees in the selected areas, thereby enhancing the local supply and quality of materials for production. The JP also provided dying machines and transferred dying technologies to the cooperative to improve natural dying quality of products; helped to create new patterns, organized trainings on labor safety and productivity and helped the cooperative to participate in handicraft trade fairs in cities and provinces throughout the country.
So far, after three year implementation, the program brought a marvelous change to the traditional brocade activity. Hoa Tien’s products are no longer restricted to local consumption but are now pursued by tourists and enterprises. Income of women of Hoa Tien Brocade Cooperative has increased to VND1.4 – 1.6 million per person per month and many of them returned to their tradition jobs. In 2012 only, Hoa Tien Brocade Cooperative earned a revenue of VND600 – 700 million.
Notably, the value chain built by JP will help bring a sustainable development to the craft village. In the coming time, a new project from Switzerland will access and support the JP, which will be a good news for Hoa Tien brocade weaving village on the way to refresh itself./.
By Bui Viet