Xuan Tien Mechanical Craft village
Dynamism in industrialisation and modernisation
The peaceful picture of Xuan Tien village is furthermore beautified with boisterous sound coming from one of the largest industrial zones in Nam Dinh province - Xuan Tien intensive industrial craft village zone.
Xuan Tien has been one of the key areas reserved for growing rice and the typical symbol in terms of economic reform in Xuan Truong district over the past years. Although agriculture still plays an important role in the local economy, the indigenous residents make out that agriculture fails to enrich them. Going on with such thought, the Xuan Tien villagers adopt and develop the bronze casting craft (later mechanical craft) to date.
Taking a rise from traditional bronze casting craft
Xuan Tien Mechanical Craft Village got started with its traditional bronze casting craft. In the old villagers’ mind, such products as cookers, trays, basins and bells, etc. made by skilful hands of local craftsmen were found available in many Vietnamese families in late 19th century and early 20th century. Over time, Xuan Tien diversified into producing small and medium-sized mechanical items thanks to its adaptive flexibility to market. When the small kerosene lamps were the only illuminators in every family, they were mass-produced by Xuan Tien and got the favourable attitude from consumers. Furthermore, forged aluminium and iron products were also introduced into market. Going on, Xuan Tien craftsmen got access to making items requiring more accuracy and subtlety such as bicycle parts, mantles, bronze moulding flutes, etc.
Layout of Xuan Tien Mechanical Craft Village and domestic exchange designed and introduced by Thanh Giang Mechanical Workshop.
In 1960s, when the locality had a policy of gathering skilled craftsmen in teams, Xuan Tien craftsmen quickly worked with each other. On their solidarity and skill, Xuan Thanh Co-operative (renamed Thong Nhat Co-operative in 1990) was opened and operated till early 1990s. This could be seen as its heyday and the members for the first time enjoyed policies like government employees. More important, their articles partially contributed to the national liberation and nation construction in early years of renewal. Members swapped experience and undertook production. When the co-operative was dissolved, no one could be hardly sure of a better future for Xuan Tien Mechanical Craft Village.
Nonetheless, the fact went opposite, 200 co-operative members returned their homes, both keeping on their very craft and boldly figuring out other way for their own. Over the past 10 years, Xuan Tien craft village has been getting large in both size and market, diversifying its products and ensuring its prestige. By 2003, there were over 300 households running the craft, employing more than 2,500 labourers, of which there was one joint-stock company, five limited companies and three private companies.
It is the going-getting tendency of the whole-hearted craftsmen who bring firm steps to the craft village. Recalling the early experience with the chaining threshers, Dinh Tan Viet, Head of Management Board of Nhat Viet Mechanical Co., Ltd, the largest one with four member companies, specialising in producing mechanical items for agricultural production said: “It was 1991 when the State provided chaining threshers made in the South to certain villages. There were certain shortcomings such as bulky, unsuitable for fields in the North, high price. This urged me and some of insiders to eliminate such failures and we got it”.
Obviously, producing 5,000-6,000 pieces/year, the chaining threshers were the best seller and fetching the highest profit to the company in particular and Xuan Tien craft village in general. Two recent years, the products were available in markets in China and welcomed by the local consumers. Their trademark, quality and copyright are reserved. Moreover, they are introduced to several exhibition fairs and awarded with best rewards. In addition to such products, Xuan Tien Co-operative launched its 1,500-2,000 concrete mixers, thousands of stripper machines, peanut peelers, corn separators into markets onto markets across the country. Bronze and aluminium moulding articles are enhanced, especially bronze bells, flutes, bicycle parts and saw blades of all types, etc.
While the mechanical sector across the country, including some reputed ones is facing major challenges, the continual growth of a mechanical craft village like Xuan Tien is truly a treasured thing. The contribution of the local handicraft-industry to the local GDP is on increase. If it was roughly 56% in 1998, it would be approximately 70% in 2003. The villagers earn VND500,000 - 700,000 per month (2003) and actually live on their work, contribute the local socio-economic development. As a result, it is now just a matter of time for Xuan Tien to ensure a comfortable living condition and elimination of the poverty.
The production workshops are also the residential areas because they are developed on the traditional craft, which to some extent impedes the productive capacity and cause adverse impact on environment. Responding to the State and Party’s policy about establishing extensive industrial zone in rural areas aimed at creating favourable for production enlargement, socio-economic development, Xuan Tien is in favour of and becomes a shining entity in terms of planning and forming the craft village extensive industrial zone in Nam Dinh. By 2003, Xuan Tien Extensive Industrial Zone is one of those built on the large and nice area in the province. Its 15.6 ha area just only meets 50% of the real need. As a result, the planned additional projects to enlarge the respective zone are quickly put in practice.
The standpoint throughout the developmental instruction of Xuan Tien over the past years is “agriculture restructure is supposed to go more drastically and able to secure food provision. Developing craft villages to do rich. Getting started by maintaining the traditional articles, improving their quality and adopting new ones to satisfy the customers”. Xuan Tien authority also draws up policies on assisting the development of mechanical production. Every year, the village authority offers meetings with enterprises, production households, and listens to their thoughts and expectations so that it could have immediate instructions or proposals to the junior levels. Such activities produce good public opinion, which makes the workers feel confident to live with the development of the craft village.
Economic growth provides firm bedrock to enhance education and culture, gradually improve the spiritual and material life of the indigenous people. By late 2003, Xuan Tien is the top commune in Xuan Truong district in terms of the telephone rate per 100 residents. 100% of the local habitants could get access to clean water and healthcare, etc.
An old-age-in-craft-man with high skill in Xuan Tien Mechanical Craft Village said: “it is a feature of the village to complete a product from A to Z and attribute trademark to it”. What make those farmers learning the craft from their former relatives able to produce such subtle mechanical articles? Could it be the desire of making fortune and going on for a better life as well as thrive their homeland.