Current condition of new rural development at Nam Dinh’s craft villages

Abstract. The National Target Program on New Rural Development (NRD) is a practical policy on rural development which has met the people’s expectations and aspirations. In such places with craft industries, new rural development is considered “the driving force” to sustainably improve the craft villages. However, during the NRD process, each location has its own characteristics. Through a survey at certain craft villages in Nam Dinh, it is evident that there are shortcomings that need fixing to enhance the role of craft village in NRD at districts and towns in Nam Dinh.

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HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1067.2017-0054 Social Sci., 2017, Vol. 62, Iss. 5, pp. 217-226 This paper is available online at CURRENT CONDITION OF NEW RURAL DEVELOPMENT AT NAM DINH’S CRAFT VILLAGES Tran Thi Thanh Thuy Department of Education, Training and Researches Management Hanam College of Education Abstract. The National Target Program on New Rural Development (NRD) is a practical policy on rural development which has met the people’s expectations and aspirations. In such places with craft industries, new rural development is considered “the driving force” to sustainably improve the craft villages. However, during the NRD process, each location has its own characteristics. Through a survey at certain craft villages in Nam Dinh, it is evident that there are shortcomings that need fixing to enhance the role of craft village in NRD at districts and towns in Nam Dinh. Keywords: Craft village, Nam Dinh, current situation, new rural development. 1. Introduction Pursuant to the 7th Decision of the Communist Party’s Central Excecutive Committe session X on Agriculture, Farmers and Rural Areas dated 28/10/2008, the Government signed Decision 24/2008/NQ-CP on implementing action plans and National Target Program on New Rural Development (NRD) for period 2010 - 2020. Like many other provinces in Vietnam, NRD has been prioritized and become an extensive and intensive movement, heartily supported by the local people in Nam Dinh. After five years, the results has proven that the NRD is on the right track and can bring about a new appearance to the rural areas in Nam Dinh. Together with agricultue, craft villages have gradually played an important roles in effectively employing the resources to boost up the economy growth, employment, labour income, cultural preservance and rural development in accordance to the NRD’s criteria. However, in craft districts and towns, there are still a lot of difficulties in the process; and if there are not timely measures, the already achieved NRD’s criteria are not stable. Received date: 10/12/2016. Published date: 3/4/2017. Contact: Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, e-mail: 217 Tran Thi Thanh Thuy 2. Content 2.1. Overview of Nam Dinh’s craft villages Nam Dinh’s craft villages spread to 71 in 209 communes and towns from 10 districts and cities. Out of which, 44 communes and towns have met the NRD’s standards. Before implementing this policy, Y Yen has the most villages with 21 handicraft villages (accounting for 22.34% of the total number of handicraft villages in the province). This is also the province with highest numbers of traditional craft villages,15 (accounting for 44.12% of the total traditional craft villages in Nam Dinh). Among those crafts, the most famous are copper casting, fine wood and lacquerware. However, at present, due to the development of 28 new villages followed the NRD’s guidelines, especially the horticulture and trading of pets and onsai, Hai Hau is the district with more craft villages. This is also one of the first district of Nam Dinh and the whole country gained the recognition of NRD. The craft villages in Hai Hau are distributed in 25 out of 35 communes and towns of the district with such products as fish sauce, confectionery, carpets, sedge mats, flowers, and bonsai [1, 4]. Table 1. Craft villages distributed on administrative units (2015) [1, 4] Dictricts/ Cities Number of Craft Villages Numbers of Districts/ Towns Numbers of Districts/ Towns with NRD criteria Numbers of Districts/ Towns with Craft Village Numbers of Districts/ Towns with Craft Village with NRD criteria 1 Nam Dinh city 1 5 0 1 0 2 My Loc 4 11 2 2 0 3 Vu Ban 11 18 10 4 3 4 Y Yen 25 32 17 10 6 5 Nam Truc 21 20 3 10 0 6 Truc Ninh 13 21 15 8 6 7 Xuan Truong 8 20 12 4 2 8 Giao Thuy 1 22 8 1 0 9 Hai Hau 32 35 35 25 25 10 Nghia Hung 15 25 10 6 2 Total 131 209 112 71 44 Rural industries in Nam Dinh is quite diversified with 19 industries and occupations from 7 basic groups: food processing; wood processing, bamboo and rattan, fine arts (handicraft); textile; mechanics; horticulture and pet industry. Other craft villages are plastic recycling, mushroom growing and processing, medicinal plantation and processing, construction.... Of which bamboo and rattan form the largest group of handicraft villages, about 37.4% of the total number of existing villages, mainly embroidered villages, conical hats and sedge mats. The horticulture of flowers and bonsais and pet industry with 29 villages (22.13%). Weaving, dyeing, silk spinning are the 218 Current condition of new rural development at Nam Dinh’s craft villages traditional industries of Nam Dinh. Currently, the number of handicraft villages in this group is not increasing, but the production process is very active due to the demand of supplyingmaterials for textile factories in NamDinh city and due to the development trend associated with the garment industry. Wood processing and mechanics are also leading industries with 14 villages and 11 villages respectively. Besides some ancient craft village of hundreds of years of history, these new craft villages also account for a big numbers. In 2015, Nam Dinh has 9 more wood processing villages, mainly the carpentry villages. The mechanics villages, although not growing in numbers, are growing steadily with the view of producing machinery and auxiliary equipment, especially agricultural machines to meet the needs of mechanization in agriculture. 2.2. Current situations of NRD at the craft villages Not only being the location with "hundreds of jobs", Nam Dinh is on the "spotlight" in the national NRD process. Since the policy was lauched, Nam Dinh has actively and positively implemented the National Target Program on NRD. In addition to the Instructions, there are 9 Resolutions by the provincial Party Executive Committee, 11 Resolutions by the People’s Council, 25 Plans and 78 Decisions by the provincial People’s Committee were issued to implement serve the NRD process in period of 2010 -2015 in 96 pilot communes in the province [4]. These localities were selected on the three basic criteria: (1) communes with medium or good economic development; (2) commune with a strong political system: the communal officials and villagers are united, dynamic and capable of directing tasks the implementation on rural development and agricultural development; (3) people in the communes share consensus, enthusiasm to participate in NRD construction. Consequently, it can be seen that in addition to fishery villages, in many other locations with craft villages, NRD can be more favorable than those focusing only on agriculture. First, thanks to the employment solution, the local economic source is strong and rural people’s imcomes are improved. According to a report by the Nam Dinh Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2015, the average individual villager’s income ranges from VND 30 to 62.4 million (about 2.5 to VND 5.2 million per person per month [1], higher than the current income level under NRD criteria of VND 25.5 million per person per year for workers in rural areas and VND 29 million per person per year in Nam Dinh and other Red River Delta provinces. This income level is about 2.74 times higher than the median income of people working in agriculture - forestry - fishery [4]. Of which, wood processing villages are the group of the highest income. On average, a regular worker can be paid 4.5 million VND per person. During the past years, craft villages also played a significant role in the overall growth with the contribution of about 55% of the total production value of all agricultural production in Nam Dinh. The industry - small industry (handicraft) groups, handicraft villages alone contributed about 11.5% of total industrial production. 157/209 communes, towns in the area have more than 10% of total communal industrial production value. Of which, Tong Xa is the most contributing village (about 95% of Yen Xa Commune, Y Yen District). This is also the place that contributes most to the local NRD construction movement. In the communes with strongly developed trade and craft villages, the proportion of well-off households is relatively high, the rate of poor households is low. 219 Tran Thi Thanh Thuy Table 2. Contribution of Craft Village to the economy and NRD Commune Craft Villages Production values (2015) (billion dong) Percentage against communal production values Contribution to NRD (billion dong) Note La Xuyen 183.6 1 Yen Ninh Ninh Xa 138.7 60.0 5.0 Communes Trinh Xa 95.2 with Lu Phong 85.6 NRD 2 Yen Tien Cat Dang 80.2 66.6 2.5 Communes Thuong Thon 47.6 with NRD 3 My Thang Lang Sac 174.9 50.0 1.0 4 Yen Xa Tong Xa 1.300* 95.0 7.3 North road 12 39.0 (*Including the branches outside the villages. Source: Processed from the results of the author’s investigation) The development of craft villages increases the income of people and held accumulate large amount of incomes. The local budget and family savings then have been increased considerably. Therefore, it is easier for the capital to be mobilized and invested in infrastructure. Such criteria on culture, health, education and the environment are also achievable. This is also the premise to ensure the strength of the political system in the local and to create the urgency of NRD area. Thanks to the management of impulse, unplanned and isolated business establishments during the NRD, it is the key to the sustainable development of craft villages in the coming time.. Compared with other purely agricultural areas, NRD construction in craft villages is the most advantageous. Therefore, out of 96 pilot communes in the first stage of NRD in Nam Dinh, nearly 60.6% (43 out of 71) of craft villages were selected (about 44.8% of the total selected communes for NRD; the other 54.2% of the pilot communes and towns belonged to fisheries, services and other economic sectors). After 5 years of implementation, 37 of these 43 communes have been recognized with NRD standards (86%). Although there are 6 pilot communes which were not accredited for NRD, there were 7 unselected communes and towns but also gained the NRD criteria before the deadline. As a result, the percentage of craft communes meeting the NRD benchmark is still higher than that of the ones without craft industries in the province. By the end of 2015, 44 out of 71 communes and townships were recognized as NRD communes. Particularly, the group of wood processing villages was the most successful at getting NRD criteria with 100% of communes with craft villages recognized. Meanwhile, in the groups majoring in textile and garment, mechanics, construction, the NRD process encountered many difficulties. Currently only 16.7 - 22.2% of communes and towns from this these groups were recognized with NRD. Other groups of craft villages accounted for more than 60% of recognized communes and towns (higher than the average 53.6% of the whole province). 220 Current condition of new rural development at Nam Dinh’s craft villages Graph 1. Ratios of communes and towns recognized with NRD in craft places and those without craft industries in the province (2015) [4] Like other areas in Nam Dinh province, NRD construction in localities with craft villages must follow the norm of 19 criteria in 5 basic groups: planning and implementation of planning, socio-economic infrastructure, economy and manufacturing, socio-cultural environment, and political system. In these places, 17 out of 19 criteria were obtained at higher rates than the provincial average and much higher than those without craft villages. Only criterion 18 and criterion 19 the rates were lover than average, but still covered 93%. Of which, 100% of communes and towns have achieved the criteria of NRD planning, electricity and post office, which is in line with the focus on infrastructure, as the premise for the development of production for the period of 2010-2015. In such villages, the standard electricity grid standards achieved would not only ensure stable production but also accelerate the process of technological innovation. 92.4% of localities with craft villages gained rural market criteria. This is also a condition for the village to develop further by boosting production and expanding the market. Therefore, in addition to the favorable conditions of investment, the need for renovation and upgrading the infrastructure is also the driving force for the implementation of these criteria in the communes and towns. The percentage of communes and townships qualified for NTM standards on residential accommodation (criterion 9), regular employment (criterion 12), production organization (criterion 13), strong social and political office (criterion 18). and social security (criterion 19) are also quite high (about 90-100%). From 2010 to 2015, more than 150 enterprises and trade associations were set up and operated effectively, bringing about high efficiency in production and trading of craft villages and agricultural cooperatives such as: Y Yen Casting Association, Dong Coi Handicraft Association (Nam Truc), Xuan Truong Youth Enterprise Association, Xuan Kien Commune Business Club (Xuan Truong), Hai Minh Handicraft Village (Hai Hau), Association of wood carving La Xuyen (Y Yen) .... Although there are some obstacles related to land compensation and site clearance, the social security and politics of the region are generally secured. Over 92% of communes and towns have met these criteria. Also 80-90% of communes and towns have achieved 221 Tran Thi Thanh Thuy Graph 2. Results of NRD in craft communes and towns (2015) [4] the criteria of transportation, irrigation, schools, income, education and healthcare. The lowest rates (but still over 70-80%) is the sixth criteria (cultural infrastructures), the 11th (the poor household ratio), the number 16 (culture) and the number 17 (environment). The improvement of rural transport, intra-field irrigation, schools, cultural facilities and the environment have achieved initial success, changing the appearance of rural areas, more spacious, modern and civilized. However, there are still over 20% of communes which have not met these criteria since it is difficult to implement these plans in a short time, especially when the land fund for public construction remains low. The rate of achievement of criterion 10 on income in NRD process in craft communes reached 85.92% (61/71 communes towns). Although it was much higher than that in communes without craft villages 68.84% (95/138 communes, town), and higher than the whole province of Nam Dinh (74.64% against 156/209 communes, towns), but the results are lower than expected. The remaining 10 villages have not achieved this criterion, mainly due to the newly introduced or newly rehabilitated crafts to the villages with a low percentage of households (less than 20%), while their commercial value is is not high and feasible such as weaving kettle baskets - Van Don, weaving mats - Lieu Hai, conical hats - Phu Sa Thuong, nursing silkworms – Co Chat, Dai An, Hong Thien ... These are also places where numbers of poor households are higher than NRD’s criteria. Some 222 Current condition of new rural development at Nam Dinh’s craft villages localities have craft villages, but do not belong to the project of NRD in this period, so the rate of poor households has not improved much although the average income of labor has reached the average. Therefore, the rate of poor households is the lowest criterion gained by recognized NRD communes and townships in the craft villages (only 73.2%). The percentage of trained workers in many localities has not met the NRD standard, so over 10% of communes and townships have not fulfilled the criteria 14 on education. Although vocational training is promoted in craft villages, traditional craft industries training usually takes the form of on-the-job training, directly learn and practise on the products. Most of the handicrafts in 8 communes and townships that do not meet this criteria do not require high skills: food processing (1 commune), bamboo and rattan (1 commune), conical hats and sedge mats (1 commune), garment (2 communes), silkworm nursery (2 communes). The owners of the production here said that after 2-3 day training the workers can be employed. Vocational training in these localities is regular, but not professional. Therefore, in the statistics, those trained on the spot in the village are not recognized. That lead to the percentage of trained workers in many villages, including the developed craft villages of My Thang (My Loc – a garment village famous with Lang Sac), the rate of trained labor remains lower than the NRD criterion (less than 40%). The greatest difficulty in implementing the national health insurance policy (criterion 15) is the awareness of the people. Although many people are able to register the health insurance, due to shortcomings in the implementation of insurance regimes (especially the quality of medical examination and treatment), the proportion of health insurance participants in Nam Dinh generally and local craft villages particularly are still low. Out of 71 communes and townships, there are still 13 communes that have not met this criteria. Environment protection, an important factor as one of the criteria for NRD recognition of craft villages, is still taken lightly even by the recognized villages. Environmental issues are still ignored or considered secondary matter. Of the 71 communes and towns with craft villages, there are still 16 communes and towns that do not meet environmental standards in NRD (including those in low-risk villages such as flower villages, in Vi Khe (Dien Xa - Nam Truc), or Van Diep village (Nam Phong - Nam Dinh city). In addition to the shortage of land fund for the construction of waste treatment facilities, the underlying cause is that many production establishments in handicraft villages neglect the regulations on environmental protection (they do not make the assessment of the current state of the environment, there is no commitment to environmental protection ...). Funds for environmental protection in handicraft villages are inadequate. Many establishments do not pay the annual environmental fee as commited. On the other hand, at the Tong Xa industrial zone (Yen Xa - Y Yen), the wastewater treatment plant was built in 2010, but has since ceased its operation due to the lack of funding although the business establishments here are fully pay the fees. Not to mention the quality of many waste treatment facilities are not guaranteed. Environmental pollution in craft villages has been improved, but only on surface level. Results of environmental sustainability is not sustainable. It causes many negative impacts on public health and great economic losses and affect other occupations of the village, especially agricultural production. Environmental conflicts between the craft people and other people in the communities, between production and farming, between production and beauty and culture, leading to 223 Tran Thi Thanh Thuy prolonged, difficult complaints, affecting the implementation of criteria No. 19 (security order) and criteria No. 16 (especially the rate of over 70% of villages meeting cultural standards). Therefore, more than 20% of communes and towns have not fulfilled cultural criteria. The achievements of NRD construction by Nam Dinh government and people in recent years are undeniable. After the first phase, the appearance of the countryside has been renovated, the infrastructure has been upgraded, the production has developed sustainably, the q