Van Phuc Silk Village in Hanoi has 600 households which weave the fabric. In its golden age nearly one thousand weaving machines ran at the same time.
Nguyen Thi Ha, the owner of Thu Ha Silk Shop in Van Phuc Village, said that only five weaving machines out of14 are still working, because the price of fabric has soared from 420,000 dong nearly 700,000 dong per kilo.
Le Van Nham, a resident of Van Phuc ward, said that all three weaving machines in his family have stopped operation in the last several months.
“While the material price has been increasing so sharply, the silk price has increased from 17,000 dong to 20,000 dong per metre only. Satin is now selling at 50,000 dong per metre, though it costs more time and materials to make satin,” Nham explained
Nguyen Huu Chinh, former Chairman of the Van Phuc Craft Village Association, said that many households here have stopped production because of difficulties. In the golden age of silk production in 2002-2006, nearly one thousand weaving machines worked at the same time, while only several hundreds machines are running now.
Chinh said that his family has six weaving machines, including one modern machine with investment capital of 40 million dong. However, only three machines are running.
The craftsmen here do not have other choices, though they know that halting weaving may cause the machines to break down and that they will have to spend a lot of money to restart the machines.
According to Chinh, the material price has been increasing because the mulberry growing areas in the north have reduced. Currently, materials are mainly being provided by Lam Dong province. Silkworms eat mulberries.
What do weavers do?
Local residents said Van Phuc Silk Village welcomes several hundred visitors every day. Many women are coming here these winter days to purchase scarves which have ‘soft prices’ of 10,000-170,000 dong. Especially, silk is a favourite of designers as it is suitable for many kinds of clothing.
Most of households in Van Phuc Village are making raw fabric to sell to other families who then dye and make the finished products to sell to consumers. Finished products are selling for 60,000-80,000 dong per metre. High quality silk is now selling at 200,000-260,000 dong per metre.
The silk made in Ha
Scarves, for example, can be made by Van Phuc’s weavers, but they would rather purchase products for resale than make these products themselves. A scarf made by an industrial machine has the cost price of 80,000 dong only, but if it is made manually, the cost would be five times higher.