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Enabling rural households to ‘craft their way out of poverty’

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green_trade_jpViet Nam has always produced substantial hand-made handicraft products. It is both cultural and also a matter of necessity in what has been till recently a very poor, but also very art and culture loving society. Promoting a rapidly growing handicraft industry in Viet Nam is part of the Vietnamese government’s plan to foster economic development across all regions of the country, reducing unemployment, especially in the rural areas, and raising exports. With more than 2,000 ancient handicraft villages, Viet Nam is gradually revealing both its potential and the wide range of its products to the international handicraft markets.

The collection and processing of natural raw materials from forest areas and handicraft production constitute the most important sources of additional income for rural households. It is very often the additional income generated from handicraft production or the collection of raw material that determine whether or not rural households can lead a life below or above the national poverty line.

The UN joint programme ‘Green Production and Trade to Increase Income and Employment Opportunities for the Rural Poor’, aims to increase income and employment opportunities for raw material growers/collectors and grassroots producers of handicrafts and small furniture,targeting 4,800 poor households in four northern provinces of Viet Nam, namely Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Hoa Binh and Phu Tho. These provinces were selected due to: (i) the high incidence of poverty, especially among ethnic minorities; (ii) the concentration of raw materials and local production of crafts; and (iii) the possibility to build synergies with past and ongoing development activities.

Within the four targeted provinces, the programme will focus on the five following value chains: (i) bamboo/rattan; (ii) sericulture and weaving; (iii) sea grass; (iv) lacquerware; and (v) handmade paper. The programme’s approach is to develop better integrated, pro-poor, and environmentally sustainable “green” value chains, enabling poor growers, collectors and producers to improve their products and link them to more profitable markets.

All project outputs are directed towards changing the systemic competitiveness of the value chain. Improved productivity in raw material collection, processing, production and trading will lead to increased sales value and higher income for value chain actors. 

For more information on the UN Joint Programme on Green Prouduction and Trade:

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