Story & photos by Hồng Đạt
Khmer people in the southern province of Kiên Giang have kept the traditional handicraft of weaving cỏ bàng (a kind of sedge) to make rattan artworks for centuries.
|Sedge is dried in the sun before being classified.|
Local authorties 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.
|People knit mats from sedge.|
“We have tried to preserve the field of cỏ bàng to supply materials to locals to ensure stable incomes,” said Lâm Hoàng Tuấn, deputy director of the Phú Mỹ 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.
|The delicate work is suitable for women and children.|
“Thanks to diverse demands of the market, we have produced new products like bags, hats, fashion accessories and footwears,” said Lý Hoàng Bảo, who is in charge of fine art handicrafts at the preservation zone.
Ngân Phép said she was the fifth generation of workers, and her income was VNĐ3 million (US$129) per month.
|Utensils made from sedge.|
The preservation zone has co-operated 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. — VNS