The handicrafts and furniture sector in Viet Nam employs about 1.35 million people in more than 2,000 crafts villages. Being a major source of income for smallholder farmers/landless poor, the sector has high potential to alleviate poverty. Handicrafts have been made a development priority by the Vietnamese government in order to promote human resources development, sustainable production and entrepreneurship upgrading in rural areas.
The programme aims to increase income and employment opportunities for raw material growers/collectors and grassroots producers of handicrafts and small furniture, targeting 4,450 poor households in four northern provinces of Viet Nam, namely Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Hoa Binh and Phu Tho. The approach is to develop better integrated, pro-poor, and environmentally sustainable “green” value chains, enabling poor growers, collectors and producers to improve their products and to link them to more profitable markets. The four provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Hoa Binh and Phu Tho are home to 11 out of the 61 poorest districts in Viet Nam. 20% of the households in the 13 districts targeted by the programme live below the national poverty line of 200,000 VND/month (about 0.4 US$ per day). Depending on the province and value chain, between 65-80 percent of the farmers/craft producers are women and ethnic minorities residing in remote areas, who are disproportionately affected by poverty.
The programme will result in a) an improved understanding of the handicrafts and small furniture value chains; b) sustainable income increases of poor crafts and small furniture raw materials growers/collectors; c) sustainable income increases of rural poor crafts and small furniture producing households and enterprises; and, d) improved policies and regulatory frameworks at the provincial and national levels for the pro-poor promotion of handicrafts and small furniture production. As such, the programme will contribute to the achievement of MDG 1, ending poverty and hunger, to MDG 3, promoting gender equality, and to MDG 7, ensuring environmental sustainability. The programme outcomes will contribute to the production of outputs mentioned in the National Sector Export Strategy for Handicrafts (VIETRADE/ITC 2007), Resolution 26 NQ/TW at the 7th Congress of the Central Executive Committee on Agriculture, Farmers and Rural Areas in 2008 and the National Target Programme on Climate Change, approved by the Prime Minister in December 2008. These documents identify those industries and trades that depend on the use of agricultural resources as development priorities in an environmentally sustainable manner, particularly due to their impact on poverty reduction.
Viet Nam is one of the eight One-UN pilot countries. The One UN Plan for Viet Nam, signed by 14 UN organizations in June 2008, is the single common programming framework for all 14 organizations. The activities contained in this programme document fall squarely within this framework and contribute to achieving the One Plan goal 1. The five UN organizations UNIDO, ITC, FAO, ILO and UNCTAD will each bring in their core competence on market development, trade, SME promotion, cleaner production, empowering of grassroots producers and smallholder farmer development.
The national coordinating authority (Line Agency) is the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT). The project owner (national implementing partner) on behalf of the MOIT is the national trade promotion organization VIETRADE. Under coordination of VIETRADE, the Vietnam Handicrafts Exporters Association VIETCRAFT will host and operate the Programme Management Unit (PMU). Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Viet Nam Cooperative Alliance (VCA), the Viet Nam Cleaner Production Center (VNCPC), the Rural Development Center (RUDEC) and others will be co-implementing partners and will have specific responsibilities during programme execution. At provincial levels, the Provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Provincial Departments of Industry and Trade (DOIT) will serve as focal coordinators.
The programme will be implemented over a period of 3 years and shall be financed by the Spanish MDG Achievement Fund and in-kind contributions from VIETRADE and VIETCRAFT