Source from: baomoi.com
The Government has listed handicrafts as one of the country's export staples during the 2011-15 period, leading Ngoc to believe the industry would easily meet the target.
Products placed on the list of export staples benefit from the Government support to boost exports.
Handicrafts have been prioritized as key export items for the next five years because they have made significant contributions to increasing incomes and reducing poverty in rural areas.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, more than 1,500 handicraft villages nationwide employ roughly 70,000 workers. Income earned by craftsmen triples or quadruples that of farmers.
Viet Nam had high potential for handicrafts exports in comparison with other regional countries due to its natural resources and in fact, Viet Nam had one of the region's highest numbers of craft villages, Ngoc said.
With these advantages, Viet Nam is one of the largest exporters of fine art and handicraft items in Asia, with an annual average export growth of 13 per cent in recent years.
Vietnamese fine art and handicraft products are currently being exported to 163 countries and territories. Europe, ASEAN, the US, Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Germany and Ukraine are some of the key export markets for Vietnamese handicraft exports such as handbags, umbrellas, hats, bamboo, porcelain, rattan, pottery and wooden goods.
To boost exports, Vietcraft has also planned to help domestic handicraft exporters gain better access to these markets this year by participating in international fairs and expos.
In April, Vietcraft would hold one of the largest home decor and gift fairs in Southeast Asia, LifeStyle Viet Nam 2011. The event would feature more than 1,000 booths from Vietnamese and overseas exhibitors and was expected to attract roughly 2,000 importers, Ngoc said.
However, he admitted the industry still faced a number of difficulties such as a limited number of designs, poor corporate governance and small handicraft firms that might not have the capacity to win large contracts.
To help the industry develop more effectively, Vietcraft would set up a design centre to develop handicraft products, Ngoc said.Besides offering credit at preferential interest rates to help craft villages, especially in production using natural materials, the agriculture ministry has also helped craftsmen upgrade their skills through training.