September 11, 2023
HANOI – Craft villages that make tools for catching fish and other aquatic creatures in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta are beginning peak production as the flooding season gets under way.
The delta, the country’s rice granary, is usually flooded between August and November as water levels rise in the Mekong.
Besides fertilising the rice fields with sediments, the floodwaters also bring in fish and other creatures.
Flooding started in upstream provinces such as Đồng Tháp in the middle of last month, and farmers there have opened their rice fields to let the water in.
Many have also started catching the creatures, and so demand for fishing tools is high.
Bùi Văn Sum, who makes bamboo fish traps in a village in Hoà Long Commune in Đồng Tháp’s Lai Vung District, has increased production in the last two weeks to meet demand.
Traders had ordered around 2,000 of the traps at VNĐ25,000 (US$1) apiece, and he could make a profit of VNĐ5,000 (20 US cents) on each, he said.
Households in the village make the tool year round to sell in Đồng Tháp and other provinces and Cần Thơ City.
In Cần Thơ too, craft villages are busy to meet the increasing demand in the delta, south-central coastal provinces and nearby Cambodia.
Thơm Rơm in the city’s Thốt Nốt District is one of the delta’s largest craft villages making the fishing tools.
Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Thuận, owner of Hữu Tý, one such establishment in Thơm Rơm, said she employs 200 workers.
“In the past most fish catching tools were made manually, but now the use of machines has helped increase productivity. A worker can make more than 20 a day.”
More and more establishments have begun to use machines.
In Cần Thơ’s Cờ Đỏ District, more than 100 people in Thạnh Hưng 2 Hamlet, mostly women, make lú, a cylindrical trap made using nets and plastic rings.
Nguyễn Thị Sai of the hamlet has made the trap for more than 10 years and earned a steady income.
The fishing tool shops had high demand for lú, and her family had increased production and earned a good income, she said.
Võ Thị Vẹn, chairwoman of the Trung Hưng Commune Women’s Union, said the union had established the Thạnh Hưng 2 Hamlet lú making co-operative group to teach women how to make the trap.
The group has 19 members and they earn an average of VNĐ3-4 million ($125-165) a month, according to Vẹn.
“The fish catching trap can be made at any time. Old and young people are able to make it during their free time and their family’s income is stable,” she said. – VNS