KHMER people in the southern Vietnamese province of Kien Giang have kept the traditional handicraft of weaving co bang (a kind of sedge) to make rattan artworks for centuries.
Local authorities have implemented a project to preserve local sedge fields to maintain the natural eco system, biodiversity and sustainable material sources for locals.
In 2016, a reservation zone for local sedge has been set up, the only field left in the area due to urbanisation and the need to open more aqua-farms and industrial zones.
“We have tried to preserve the field of co bang to supply materials to locals to ensure stable incomes,” said Lam Hoang Tuan, deputy director of the Phu My Nature Reservation Zone.
Most women and children in the commune are involved in the industry. The preservation zone has created jobs for 200 labourers, 90 per cent of whom are from the Khmer group.
“Thanks to diverse demands of the market, we have produced new products like bags, hats, fashion accessories and footwears,” said Ly Hoang Bao, who is in charge of fine art handicrafts at the preservation zone.
Ngan Phep said she was the fifth generation of workers, and her income was $129 per month.
The preservation zone has cooperated with the International Crane Foundation to plant more sedge at the site to enlarge the habitat for the birds. They organise field trips for managers at the site to neighbouring countries to learn about biodiversity and developing handicraft villages. Viet Nam News/ANN