According to the Vietnam Craft Villages Association, the country has more than 700 rattan and bamboo handicraft villages, mostly concentrated in Hanoi, creating jobs for over 100,000 workers. These villages consume 400-500 million bamboo trees each year and about 60,000-80,000 tons of rattan. Rattan products are exported to more than 100 countries.
According to data of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in the first quarter of 2019, the rattan and bamboo industry exported US $ 113 million, up more than 40% over the same period last year. The main markets are still the US, Japan and Europe. Notably, the export value to these markets increased, in which the US market increased the highest. In addition to traditional markets, new markets such as Spain, Russia and India are also increasing import of rattan and bamboo products from Vietnam.
Despite great potential, Vietnam only accounts for about 3% of the world market share of rattan products and a very small market share in traditional export markets. Along with the increasing demand in markets, the reduction of taxes from free trade agreements is expected to help exporters in the industry take off. However, the reality shows that export value will be difficult to break out in a short time.
Currently, the lack of supply is one of the important factors hindering the development of rattan industry. According to the Vietnam Craft Villages Association, the main source of raw materials for rattan production comes from the Northern provinces. In the past few years, the supply has been unstable while the price of raw materials has increased, which greatly affected the production activities of export enterprises. It is estimated that Vietnam has to import an additional 33,000 tons of rattan every year to serve its production.
In addition, the weakest point lies in the design stage. Enterprises are mainly designed in the traditional style, not yet grasping the demand of the world market. Therefore, Vietnamese goods have low prices and are very competitive, especially Chinese goods. In 2018, some traditional markets (such as European countries) reduced imports from Vietnam, resulting in a slight increase in export value, reaching US $ 348 million.
According to Le Ba Ngoc, Chairman of Vietnam Handicraft Export Association (VIETCRAFT), apart from the above reasons, this industry has not been able to break through due to the lack of innovation activities. Responding to the Consumer Newspaper, Mr. Ngoc said, the Prime Minister issued Decision 11 to encourage industry development but no one has done it yet.
Decision 11 (The policy to encourage the development of rattan and bamboo industry) has been issued since 2011. In addition to policies to develop raw material areas, support capital, this decision also has specific provisions to support the application. technology for manufacturing innovation. However, up to now, the implementation effect is still quite lackluster.
According to the Department of Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), 95% of the total value of rattan products is still traditional goods, only 5% of industrial processed products. Mr. Ngoc assessed that, in order to help the rattan and bamboo industry to make a breakthrough in the coming time, businesses must proactively improve designs and invest in modern production technologies.
An exporter of rattan products in Hanoi commented that they also wanted to invest in technology to increase the selling price of products, but now most of the enterprises in the industry are small and medium-sized. Funding for business development has been difficult, making it more difficult to find capital for technology investment. Especially when the price of products is not high, it is not easy to recover capital.
Obviously, despite the great potential, the solution to help export rattan industry is not easy to implement in a short time. Mr. Ngoc forecast that in 2019, the export value of this industry could not break through immediately, only increased by about 9-11% compared to 2018, estimated to reach nearly $ 400 million.