Connect with us

Your Vietnam

Canadian professor on tireless quest to develop Vietnam’s beekeeping industry

Published

on

For nearly three decades, Canadian entomologist Gard Otis has dedicated himself to the study of behavior patterns in a native Vietnamese honeybee species, as well as to the development of local bee farming talent and technology in the north-central province of Ha Tinh.  

Otis spent 36 years as a professor at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, where he specialized in honeybee biology and behavior, insect ecology, and forest entomology. 

The distinguished researcher currently serves as an adjunct professor at the university’s School of Environmental Sciences.

A key area of Otis’s research and interest is focused on ‘murder hornets,’ commonly known as Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia).

While working on National Geographic Society-funded beekeeping projects in north-central Vietnam several years ago, Prof. Otis began conducting extensive research on Vespa soror, a sister species to Vespa mandarinia.

Both hornets share similarities in size and behavior, including their tendency to attack and even ‘slaughter’ honeybee colonies.

In a video call with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in late January, the professor proudly shared the results of a recent study he undertook with the help of associates in Vietnam and the U.S., during which he discovered a collective defense strategy adopted by honeybees (Apis cerana) against swarms of Vespa soror.

The article was published late last year in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed journal launched by PLOS — a nonprofit, Open Access publisher which empowers researchers to accelerate progress in science and medicine.

According to the article, honeybees in Asia have evolved under predatory pressure from social wasps in the genus Vespa, the most formidable of which are the giant hornets that attack colonies in groups, kill adult defenders, and prey on broods.

The team’s documentation revealed for the first time that, in response to attacks by V. soror, which frequently land on their way into nests, A. cerana workers foraged for and applied animal feces to their nest entrances.

‘Murder hornets’ slaughter a colony of honey bees in Japan. Photo courtesy: Getty Images

‘Murder hornets’ slaughter a colony of honeybees in Japan. Photo: Getty Images

Fecal spotting intensified after colonies were exposed either to naturally occurring attacks or to chemicals that scout hornets employed to zero in on colonies for mass attacks. Spotting persisted for days despite the cessation of attacks, the study showed.

Moderate to heavy fecal spotting stamped out attempts by V. soror to penetrate nests by reducing the incidence of multiple-hornet attacks and significantly lessening the likelihood of the ferocious wasps approaching and chewing nest entrances.

These findings are the first official report of honeybees using tools to repel aggressive predators, as well as the first published evidence of insects foraging for non-plant-based solids from livestock and poultry.

The study also includes an in-depth description of the sophisticated portfolio of defenses that honeybees have developed to cope with the constant predatory threats they face, including physically shielding the colony from predators by building enclosed walls and closely guarded small entrances; synchronized body shaking or wave-like visual displays; and producing hissing or buzzing sounds in response to predators.

Another effective defense employed by honeybees involves killing hornets by overheating and suffocating individual attackers in a ball of bees.

While it remains a puzzle as to how animal dung repels hornets, the research team found that honeybees use a variety of smelly filth to repel aggressors, including human urine and soap.

“We’re not in favor of animal feces being applied as textured spots on the fronts of hives, as no one would want to consume honey from such hives,” Prof. Otis noted.

“The key is likely the odor itself, not a particular substance.”

Though much remains to be understood about this predator-prey interaction and repellency mechanism, the groundbreaking study suggests that bee farmers can apply substances with a strong, long-lasting odor, such as clove oil, around hive entrances to keep predatory hornets at bay.  

A bond with buzzers in Vietnam

Prof. Otis’s enduring interest in the defensive behavior of Asian honeybees began more than a decade ago when he initiated a beekeeping development project in several rural communes in north-central Vietnam’s Ha Tinh Province.

Managed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, faculties from several Canadian universities worked with colleagues from the Vietnam Bee Research and Development Center to devise and execute the extensive research and training project.

Canadian professor Gard Otis (right, seated) and his associates are pictured during a field trip to Ba Vi District in suburban Hanoi, Vietnam in 2013 in this supplied photo

A research team from Canadian Professor Gard Otis’s project work during a field trip to Ba Vi District in suburban Hanoi, Vietnam in 2013 in this supplied photo.

During his time working on the project, Otis was stumped by the black spots which covered local honeybee nests. Locals seemed equally puzzled and only knew that the spots typically appeared following hornet attacks.

Only one seasoned beekeeper who had witnessed the insects’ defensive behavior first-hand was able to offer up an answer: “It’s buffalo dung.”

In 2012, Prof. Otis persuaded his former student, Heather Mattila, an associate professor of biology at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, the U.S., to join him in his research on the honeybees’ ‘feces applying’ behavior.

The duo also managed to enlist help from two Hanoi-based experts – Dr. Pham Duc Hanh from the National Institute of Animal Sciences of Vietnam and Dr. Nguyen Thi Phuong Lien from the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources.

“It turned out the four disciplines we major in allowed us to make our research a success in 2013,” Prof. Otis said, adding the data analysis took six years. 

Mattila, the study’s head, shared in an email to Tuoi Tre that both Prof. Otis and herself considered their research experience in Vietnam a highlight of their academic careers.

Each passing day during the research period was unforgettable, she stressed, adding that she hoped to one day work with an equally wonderful and diverse team.  

To prove the honeybees’ unique defensive behavior, the scientists needed ‘invincible’ hives in a controlled experiment with attacked nests.

The team used a white balloon tied to a stick held by research assistants to drive the hornets away.

To make sure they always had enough feces at their disposal for the honeybees to take their pick, they built a small ‘feces shop’ with solids from poultry and cattle, Prof. Otis shared.

By the end of the day, around 140 honeybees would drop by the ‘shop’ before buzzing off with a morsel of dung in their mouth.

“The interesting thing is we were actually at a loss what to look for and observe at first. We just had to learn about the honeybees’ behavior little by little each day,” shared Phan Thanh Ngoc, a member of Prof. Otis’s research team.     

Later, with Otis’s mentoring and assistance, Ngoc was able to skip earning his master’s and move directly on to earning a Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.

A buzz around beekeeping

Dr. Ngoc is not Otis’s only mentee.

Back in 1996, Prof. Otis attended a conference organized by the Asian Apiculture Association in Vietnam.

By the end of the trip, he had made a commitment to seek funding for a project to foster the development of bee farming in the Southeast Asian country.

The pundit was particularly impressed with researchers from the Vietnam Bee Research and Development Center (VBRDC), who tried to answer his thorny questions with complete honesty. 

“That was when I decided to get them involved,” he said.

To prepare for his project, Prof. Otis took a trip across Vietnam to collect samples of the country’s honeybee species.

After 10 years, he managed to earn sponsorship from the Canadian International Development Agency in order to provide training in beekeeping techniques for more than 190 households in six communes in Huong Son and Vu Quang Districts in Ha Tinh between 2007 and 2012. 

Exceeding the project developer’s expectations, the trainees were able to maintain bee farming businesses well before the project’s end and were even able to share techniques with bee farming newcomers.  

“We knew we had to get the people working with the bees and doing things with the bees. Everything fits together in a system that’s integrated with the seasonality,” he shared in a video clip posted on the University of Guelph’s website in 2012.

“These trainees have actually put it all together into a system that they’re able to innovate.

“The beekeeping technology is extending more quickly than I would imagine.

“Within a small area, they now have essentially all the components of a complete industry.

“I think it will allow them to be sustainable with this activity far into the future.”

Huong Son and Vu Quang Districts’ products have made their way on to the country’s honey map.

A first and foremost part of the project includes providing training for lecturers at VBRDC so that they can properly teach new students.

During this training, Otis met Hanh, a VBRDC researcher, who later became his Ph.D. student and a co-author in their latest study on honeybees’ ‘feces applying’ defensive practice.

According to the professor, financing a Ph.D. student’s program spanning three or four years accounted for a big part of the project’s budget.

They need a well-trained scientist capable of raising valuable research questions and gaps, designing viable experiments, training younger generations and also fluent in English, he explained.

“With all of Vietnam’s indigenous bee species in sight, I’m like a kid in a candy store,” Prof. Otis shared, adding that there is only one species of honeybee in North America and it has lost its novelty among researchers.

The giant hornets habitually disappear around November each year to prepare for a new queen bee ‘empire’ before making their comeback in August the following year.

During that time, colonies of honeybees stop applying new fecal spots and old spots are washed away by natural elements.

Prof. Gard Otis felt sorry that no Vietnamese experts or farmers had seemed to question this abnormal phenomenon, which occurs for around two and a half to three months each year. 

How honeybees use feces to defend colonies

Apis cerana defended their colonies from group attacks by Vespa soror by applying fecal spots around hive entrances.

  • A hive front with heavy fecal spotting around the entrance opening
  • A marked A. cerana forager on a dung pile
  • A forager holds a clump of fecal solids in her mandibles.
  • A forager applies a fecal spot to a hive front after being paint marked on a dung pile.
  • An entrance-focused group attack on a colony of honeybees by V. soror workers
  • Damage to a hive entrance after entrance margins were chewed on by V. soror workers, with the attack disrupted by experimenters before the hive was breached.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development conferred on Prof. Gard Otis the ‘Order in recognition of contributions to Vietnam’s agriculture and rural development’ in late 2014.

His dedication to the Southeast Asian country’s apiculture sector is also something personal.

Born in the U.S., Otis would have been conscripted for the American war in Vietnam, which ended in 1975.

When he first visited Vietnam, he was psychologically geared up for anger and unfriendly attitudes that he thought awaited him. To his great surprise, this never happened.

“There’s another reason that I want to work with Vietnamese people. You’re so kind and forgiving and even nominated me for a prize,” he shared, adding that he threw a party with those who had given him their full backing.

“I really love Vietnam, where many of my friends are.”

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/features/20210221/canadian-professor-on-tireless-quest-to-develop-vietnams-beekeeping-industry/59357.html

Your Vietnam

Despite growing demand in Ho Chi Minh City, supply of affordable apartments flatlines

Published

on

Ho Chi Minh City has seen a nominal number of new affordable housing projects in the past five years, which has greatly frustrated the road to homeownership of the city’s up-and-coming young workforce.

As per Vietnamese law, social housing is put under strict regulations, where hopeful buyers must meet a score of criteria to become eligible for purchase.

Members of the general public are resting their best hopes on privately-developed affordable housing projects, yet the category is finding itself in a tight corner of the market, catching little interest from developers.

Fizzling supply

After the housing bust that haunted the domestic market from 2009 to 2013, Ho Chi Minh City and the surrounding locales observed a surge of housing projects from low- to mid-tier range, as 78 percent of the new housing projects in the area in 2017 were classified as B- or C-tier, according to a report from the real estate firm DKRA.

As per Vietnam’s Circular 31/2016, qualified apartment buildings are ranked in three tiers, with A signifies the highest standard, B the midpoint, and C the lowest possible, often associated with affordable housing projects.

However, in their report on the Ho Chi Minh City housing market in the third quarter of 2018, DKRA pointed out that supply of new C-tier apartments shrank to two percent.

By 2020, these numbers had almost gone to zero, while new high-priced units had dominated the market with 69 percent, the consulting firm said.

Meanwhile, the cost for the supposedly affordable housing units is rising over the typical workers’ heads, with the rate for an average C-tier unit going from VND16 million (US$700) per square meter to more than double that figure last year, which means a 15-20 percent increase per annum.

In the first three months of 2021, high- and mid-priced apartments were still seen taking over the market, while supply of affordable units remained scarce.

Buyers on a budget in Ho Chi Minh City are having a hard time finding listings at the price below VND35 million ($1,516) per square meter, as apartments in neighboring Binh Duong and Dong Nai Provinces have already soared to VND33-45 million ($1,429-1,949) per square meter.

A recent research of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association also confirmed the dominance of high-end housing projects, which covered 70 percent of the market, while mid-tier developments accounted for 25 percent.

Meanwhile, affordable housing only makes up one percent, or 163 projects, out of all housing projects in Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding areas that called for investments in 2020.

This proves an indication of the imbalanced development of the local real estate sector, which bodes a dubious future of unsustainability.

A house of 36 square meters wide that accommodates 10 people in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

An apartment of 36 square meters in area accommodates 10 people in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The great hunt for homes

For the time being, the interest rate for private home loans, with no favorable conditions applied, floats at 10-11 percent per year.

At this rate, a loan of VND1 billion ($43,332) over a 10-year term would require VND200 million ($8,664) in compound interest per year.

In case of a future hike in interest rates, the total interest to be paid in 10 years could easily equate, even surpassing the initial loan amount.

Duc Minh, a father in Tan Phu District of Ho Chi Minh City, said a loan like above would require the combined income of his and his wife’s to reach at least VND30 million ($1,308) per month, as he still has to pay for food, schooling bills for his children, as well as saving for unexpected events.

“This is why we’ve been on the fence [about taking out the loan,] while the housing price is still skyrocketing,’ he said.

According to Minh, an apartment of 60 square meters in the outlying districts of Ho Chi Minh City would cost at least VND2 billion ($86,664), which is totally out of his financial capacity at this moment.

Khoi, a resident of Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City, said he is scrambling to find an apartment in suburban districts with his budget of VND1.5 billion ($65,000).

“I feel like entering an unfair race between homebuyers and the market price. The rate always rises two or three times faster than I can save,” he stated.

Khoi attributed the phenomenon to the swing investors, who cram sales opening events of housing projects to buy and pump the price up, which will drive people with actual demands to find a place to leave the game.

Construction site of an apartment building project in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The construction site of an apartment building project in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Manufactured hype

Last year’s skyrocketing cost of housing in Ho Chi Minh City can be accredited to developers’ choice to create supply scarcity, as well as a high demand for housing as investment property, which took up as much as 70-80 percent of units in new apartment projects.

On top of that, accompanying fees for land and legal procedures have pushed up real estate prices in the southern city, said Su Ngoc Khuong, senior director of investment at the real estate firm Savills.

Over the past three years, a real estate upswing in the southern metropolis has been recorded every year after the Lunar New Year holiday, which usually takes place in late January or early February.

“It’s just manufactured hype, as realistic transactions are very low,” said Pham Lam, deputy president of the Vietnam Association of Realtors.

“Real estate brokers are complaining as they have been facing struggles to sell for months.”

Regarding the recent real estate fevers, Lam pointed out that they all stem from insider reports of new master plans for development, which could drive prices of local land through the roof.

However, these information sources are usually manipulated by a powerful few, who seek to profit from the market mania on which they have the upper hand.

Lam also pointed out growth in idle money among Ho Chi Minh City citizens, as well as high hopes among speculators for the real estate market in a period of economic recovery, as reasons for the housing boom.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/features/20210414/despite-growing-demand-in-ho-chi-minh-city-supply-of-affordable-apartments-flatlines/60358.html

Continue Reading

Your Vietnam

Saigon witnesses rising demand for luxury goods ‘spas’

Published

on

Although it might sound exciting to work with designer goods, the craftsmen who restore and repair luxury items face a difficult balance.

Designer bags, shoes, and backpacks are customers’ means of showing their social status in Vietnam.

However, how can these assets which might cost hundreds of millions, even billions of Vietnamese dong be repaired as they get older?

“I have a deep passion for handbags, even mangled ones,” said Pham Ngoc Hieu, founder of Auth Spa in Ho Chi Minh City’s Phu Nhuan District, about the motivation behind his luxurious bag ‘spa.’

The handbag savior

Hieu started trading high-end bags ten years ago after quitting his previous desk job.

He realized that no matter how well-made they were, sooner or later, handbags would be damaged.

Meanwhile, it was hard to find a person able to repair them.

Handbag touching up, at the time, was still a strange service in Vietnam.

Hieu went abroad to learn techniques of handbag restoration before opening his own spa, becoming the pioneer in the country.

He and his partners offer cleaning and repair services on premium handbags, shoes, and accessories made by world-renowned luxury goods manufacturers including Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton or Burberry, which are stained, scratched or deformed. 

Nguyen Thi Thanh Truc, Hieu’s wife, is a professional in restoring products’ original colors and changing leather hues.

“Bags which are severely stained or discolored need restoring with electromagnetic shielding paint and setting spray,” said Truc.

“For changing an original color into another, it depends on which shade it is.

“The success rate for basic colors is about 90 percent while for limited ones it’s only 80 percent.”

Their first account was to restore a handbag valued at VND70 million (US$3,000).

“I was scared at first because the bag was too expensive,” she recalled.

“Not clear about its leather’s characteristics, I tinted it wrongly.

“It took me a week to realize that for absorbing leathers, I needed to use a lighter shade of colors.”

Nguyen Thi Thanh Truc painstakingly repairs a luxurious Hermes bag. – Photo: Le Phan/Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thi Thanh Truc painstakingly repairs a luxurious Hermes bag. Photo: Le Phan / Tuoi Tre

Upper-class services

Most valuable products repaired by Auth Spa are from Hermes, ranging from thousands to dozens of thousands of U.S. dollars for each item.

“We have processed dozens of Hermes handbags under VND500 million [$21,600],” said Truc.

“Their owners take good care of them as they are too expensive.

“Most of the orders are to restore straps and decolored parts, which required both meticulousness and skills.

“Otherwise, we would have to pay considerable compensation.”

According to her, fixers learn by doing. Through time, she has gained a lot of experience and created her own techniques of repairing handbags.

“Once we love the products and treat them as our own, we will be confident and give the best shot to take care of them,” Truc shared her philosophy.

In 2015, Hieu and Truc opened their first bricks-and-mortar workshop and got flooded with orders from Ho Chi Minh City and other localities.

Upper-class customers are the targets of ICUS – a luxury goods spa by Tran Huy Hoang, 29, in Ho Chi Minh City.

“A person who pays VND20 million [$867] for an item can definitely afford the repairing fee of VND3-4 million [$130-173]. It makes no sense to restore a bag that costs some VND500,000 [$21] at the same expenses,” Hoang said, adding the cost would be determined based on a bag’s damage levels and customer orders.

A bag valued at VND40 million ($1,700), for example, will be restored to be like-new at VND7 million ($303). The harder it is to be fixed, the higher the cost will pile up.

“I think for valuable, premium goods, the restoring expense of some million dong is not too high,” he added.

“We used to ‘revive’ a heavily damaged Gucci bag valued at VND140 million [$6,000] at several million dong. It might have been resold at VND50 million [$2,160] at least,” he added.

Some 10 percent of his frequent customers are celebrities.

“They are picky and strict when it comes to leather finishes and deadlines,” he told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper. 

“However, as authorized accessories need importing from abroad, late appointment is unavoidable.”

A staff of ICUS tints a Coach bag to fix discolored parts. – Photo: Le Phan/Tuoi Tre

A staff of ICUS tints a Coach bag to fix discolored parts. Photo: Le Phan / Tuoi Tre

A risky job

There are many invisible risks posed to people working in the industry, according to Hoang, since they have to deal with high-value products on a daily basis.

He recalled the compensation of VND20 million for a VND26 million ($1,126) Burberry bag for accidentally staining it when cleaning.

“The bag was constructed by different materials so staining and decoloring some parts were inevitable. The chance of making mistakes is about two to three of every 3,000 orders,” said Hoang.

Another risk is to deliver wrong items. He said a couple days ago, his staff carelessly put a VND30 million ($1,300) Chanel wallet into a wrong package for delivery.

“Luckily, my customer called saying she received a wallet that was not hers and asked us to take it back,” he said.

The most dangerous situation, according to Hoang, is to lose customers’ goods because it is not only about compensation but also trust issues. He has a budget to handle incidents.

“God blesses us, we barely need to use it,” he said.

To prevent any fault, craftsmen have to be able to shoulder pressure and pay attention to details. The reward is high earnings.

“They are all painstakingly selected and trained to both clean and repair handbags,” said Hoang.

“Staff in charge of tinting and restoring have to be arts and architecture students.

“We have our own team of delivery workers.

“Customers can review final products before deciding to receive or send them back to our workshop for further fixes.”

Although it has just been introduced for six months, ICUS has developed its list of frequent customers.

“I will soon launch laundry services for handbags, shoes, and backpacks. The market still has room to grow,” he shared his vision.

Besides two branches in Thu Duc City’s Thao Dien Ward and Ho Chi Minh City’s District 10, Hoang said he planned to open two other shops in District 3 and Phu Nhuan District.

Both Auth Spa and ICUS help their customers to distinguish real luxury goods from fake ones using their experience. The demand has risen since a lot of people are able to afford premium products but they cannot tell the difference between authentic products and counterfeits.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/features/20210414/saigon-witnesses-rising-demand-for-luxury-goods-spas/60361.html

Continue Reading

Your Vietnam

From humble sedge come new creations

Published

on

By Thúy Hằng

Despite being born and bred in Nga Sơn, a rural district in the central province of Thanh Hóa famed for its traditional bed mats and other products made of sedge, Trần Doãn Hùng never wanted to follow the craft and becoming involved in a business endeavour relating to the material never even crossed his mind.

HANDS ON: Trần Doãn Hùng weaving sedge bags at Cỏ May Craft’s workshop. Photos courtesy of Trần Doãn Hùng

Like many in his village, after graduating from high school he headed to Hà Nội to attend university and then worked for a few years in the capital.

In 2017, he went to work at a resort in the beach city of Nha Trang on Việt Nam’s south-central coast, where by chance he found a new direction in life. A female co-worker showed Hùng her new handbag, made of sedge. Admiring its meticulous weaving, he began to think about his hometown’s famed craft.

“I wondered whether this was something I could do,” the now 28-year-old recalled. “After some restless nights, I decided to quit my job and return home and found a start-up.”

And so it was that in 2018 Hùng founded Cỏ May Craft (Gold Bear Grass Craft).

“Gold Bear grass, the local sedge, is flimsy but durable,” he said in explaining the company name.

“Like many people who were born and bred in a village, when I was living in the city I was always nostalgic for home, with its green pastures and sedge. It’s what brought me back.”

Without knowledge and experience, though, he had to start out from scratch. While studying and learning the craft, he was fortunate enough to meet a helpful craftsman in the central city of Huế who was willing to share his skills and experience.

He also decided, though, to focus on sedge products other than mats, which had been made in his home village for hundreds of years.

BEST SELLERS: About 1,000 bags from Cỏ May are sold each month on Amazon in the US.

Cỏ May, therefore, specialises in producing women’s handbags. Together with sedge, the company also makes bags using other natural materials such as rattan, bamboo, straw, and hyacinth.

“Customers only accepted our products once they met their requirements in quality and design,” he said. “This why I pay particular attention to such details.”

His bags are rounded out by leather straps, handles or flaps, which add a modern touch. They also come with a removable inner lining, so they can easily be kept clean.

WELL-MADE: One of Cỏ May’s sedge tote bags.

For the young and demanding entrepreneur, product quality isn’t just about durability but also about style and elegance.

“Quality must be seen in every detail,” he said. “The product must look nice, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have to care about every single knot and seam.

CARE & ATTENTION: Every detail is important, according to Hùng.

“Keeping an eye on such details requires that craftsmen be experienced in observation and be self-disciplined.”

Fruitful endeavour

Though any number of enterprises have been seriously hit by COVID-19, Cỏ May has come through it all largely unscathed.

“Sales have only been down slightly, as we mostly sell via online platforms,” he said.

QUALITY IS KEY: Hùng casts his eye over one of his bags at a shop in HCM City.

The 1,000 bags produced each month are sold on Amazon in the US at prices ranging from US$75 to $150.

Hùng’s products have also found favour in France and Australia, with substantial monthly orders coming from traders.

COVID-19 did, however, give the young businessman a new idea.

“People weren’t able to go out during the pandemic, and instead spent more time at home,” he explained. “So the thought occurred to me: Why we don’t create decorative household items from sedge?”

WALL TO WALL: Cỏ May has been selling wall hangings on Amazon since February.

Cỏ May Craft then started to introduce decorative wall hangings made of sedge on Amazon in February and feedback so far has been positive.

Last year a project of Hùng’s called “Combining natural materials and leather to create handbags” won first prize at a contest on start-up ideas from young people organised by the Thanh Hóa provincial Youth Union.

To create stable jobs for his fellow villagers, Hùng has begun a training course for a group of women aged 35-55.

“Once they become skilled weavers of our particular products, instead of employing people from elsewhere, such as Kim Sơn in Ninh Bình or others from Huế, we can recruit local villagers,” he said.

He feels happy whenever he receives a photo of customers with one of his sedge bags.

“That’s when I realise my products have travelled all over the world,” he said. “I feel proud to have contributed to promoting ‘Made in Việt Nam’ arts and crafts to international customers.”

His ambition continues, with plans to cooperate with Vietnamese fashion brands as well as foreign retailers in creating a new range of items. VNS

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/life-in-vietnam/from-humble-sedge-come-new-creations_323512.html

Continue Reading

Trending