Weaving baskets improves lives in Soc Trang province

(VOVWORLD) - Weaving baskets from water hyacinth, an aquatic plant common in Vietnam's rural areas, is popular among the people of Nga Nam town in Soc Trang province. The craft produces extra income for farmers between harvests without  polluting the environment.
Weaving baskets improves lives in Soc Trang province - ảnh 1Weaving water hyacinth items produces extra income for farmers in Nga Nam town in Soc Trang province.

Every day Nguyen Phuoc Huu of Vinh Hoa hamlet in Vinh Quoi commune is busy making water hyacinth vases, cushions, and baskets.

Seven years ago, after taking a free weaving course, Huu and his family quit working for others and begin supporting themselves with this handicraft.

Last year the family was loaned 220 USD to rent an area on which to grow water hyacinth for their raw materials.

Huu says he nets 8.8 USD a day after deducting all production costs and his family’s living expenses. Their life is now much easier.

“We can’t farm because the soil here is too alkaline. Thanks to this craft, our lives have improved. My wife and children have jobs and an income. We feel much more comfortable,” said Huu.

Vinh Hoa hamlet has 250 households. 90% of them weave water hyacinth baskets, earning 3-5 USD a day.

Huynh Thi Mien, head of the hamlet’s women’s union, said, “The last pandemic period didn’t affect us. We kept working normally. Our living conditions are quite good. We provided products to the retailers regularly, although the payment was a bit slow. Now almost everyone in Vinh Hoa hamlet is a weaver.”

Weaving baskets improves lives in Soc Trang province - ảnh 2Products made of dried water hyacinth

The weaving began in Vinh Hoa hamlet in Vinh Quoi commune 20 years ago and spread to Nga Nam town. The work can be done at home and, unlike farming, produces a steady income.

Even during the social distancing of 2020, the locals continued weaving. There are currently 1,500 weavers in the town.

In addition to setting up five co-ops, local authorities have signed contracts with retail businesses to buy all the local products at set prices.

This ensures profits for weavers, said Nguyen Kim Lien, who leads My Hoa hamlet’s co-op.

According to Lien, “At first my co-op had just ten members, but now it has more than 150. In a week, we can make about 3,000 pieces. Good workers make large items and can turn out 20 items a day, earning about 11 USD. Older weavers can still make 10 pieces a day. On average, a person can earn about 5 USD per day.”

Weaving water hyacinth items has proved to be an effective model for the people of Nga Nam. It has generated a good income, even during the pandemic, and has sustainably reduced local poverty.