Workshop "How to preserve Cái Răng Floating Market"

After more than 100 years of existence, Cai Rang floating market (Can Tho city) is gradually decreasing for customers and tourists. On the afternoon of October 15, the Department of Culture - Sports and Tourism of Can Tho City held a workshop to find solutions to preserve and promote the value of "Floating Market Intangible Cultural Heritage - Cai Rang ”, contributing to promoting tourism development. News was recorded by Saigon Times.
According to Mr. Nguyen Khanh Tung, Director of Can Tho City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, “Cai Rang Floating Market (CNCR) is vital to the city's tourism development, positively contributing to restructuring economy, create jobs and increase income for the community; affirming the image and brand of the floating market to domestic and international tourists ”.
Mr. Tung explained, over 70% of tourists come to Can Tho to go to CNCR because this place "contains the very typical living habits of the people in the riverside areas that have created the unique cultural values ​​of the Mekong Delta" .
In fact, although there is a decrease, CNCR now has 250-300 boats every day to buy and sell agricultural products; about 30 small boats to buy and sell fruit, local cuisine; During peak hours, more than 200 cruise ships take tourists to visit, “so it has created a highlight, attracting investment in resorts, tourist attractions, tourist accommodation establishments and entertainment services. Other entertainment in Can Tho ”.
However, according to Mr. Tung, the management, exploitation and conservation of high-tech forest are facing many challenges. State management functions on floating markets belong to many branches and fields; While there are no documents on management of this particular market type, the investment, renovation and development budget is facing many difficulties.
“In addition, with the rapid development of road traffic infrastructure; Site clearance and embankment construction are also affecting the size of the floating market. Inadequate environmental protection; living conditions of the commercial lake community are still difficult; investment attraction is not effective; Tourism products and services are not abundant and diversified, so the spending of tourists here is very small; The main tourists visit, take photos ”, said Mr. Nguyen Khanh Tung.
According to the report of Can Tho Department of Industry and Trade to the workshop, in 2016, CNCR was recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as "Intangible Cultural Heritage". After that, the People's Committee of Can Tho City had a "Project on conservation and development of agricultural products", with a budget of more than 63 billion VND, with the aim of preserving and developing high technology in the direction of becoming a wholesale market, transshipping agricultural products of the region Mekong Delta, for ecotourism development, environmental sanitation and social security issues.
Up to now, the traffic flow separation has been completed; maintaining river trading activities through loan support; building models of cooperative groups, cooperatives producing clean agricultural products and fruits to supply for floating markets; organizing garbage collection to protect the environment, floating stalls on the river, public toilets on the river ... Phase 2 of the project is being implemented with 4 items including stop station, floating market jetty, yacht. and riverside floating restaurant.
Currently, although there is a decrease, the amount of agricultural products such as fruits, vegetables, ornamental flowers, crafts, household appliances, culinary ... sold at the floating market is estimated at about 2,000 tons / day, revenue is about 3 billion. VND / day, creating jobs for hundreds of unskilled workers and small traders (this output includes agricultural products traded by boats and goods delivered by small traders to onshore barns and vice versa for transportation. by road to go everywhere).
According to the Can Tho Department of Industry and Trade, the decrease in the number of boats and boats to the floating market is partly due to the rapidly developing commercial infrastructure, including e-commerce; The modernization of urban areas, the development of road and air transportation has also reduced the number of traders coming to trade here.
In addition, when implementing this project, CNCR has 3 more floating restaurants; On the shore there are more stalls selling souvenirs, local specialties for visitors. "The development of tourism, in the first time, has also caused tourists to take the boat, buy goods or the waste situation on the river increased," this report said.

Conservation and development towards safety and sustainability
In order to support traders to stabilize consumption of agricultural products, find outputs for agricultural products in floating markets and retain commercial lakes, Can Tho Department of Industry and Trade proposes a series of solutions, related to supporting infrastructure such as floating market jetty, public toilets, yachts, parking lots, warehouses, cargo barns; reorganizing the floating market operations, adding wholesale and retail delivery terminals; traffic flow separation; training management personnel and trading skills for traders and coastal traders; to apply e-commerce in the management of floating market operations.
“It is suggested that the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Can Tho City develop this project, hand over to the People's Committee of Cai Rang district to coordinate and manage the training. Funding source, should propose support from JICA Project of Japan or KOICA of Korea for implementation in the period of 2021-2025 ”, the report emphasized.
Sharing with Saigon Times Online , Mr. Stiermann Martin Walter, owner of RiceField Lodge in Phong Dien district (Can Tho), said: “The government needs to support traders in floating markets; Two small boats had to sell boats and stop doing business. In addition, the docks here must be more spacious ”.
Mr. Martin also thinks that Cai Rang floating market is currently too small; It only takes 20 minutes for visitors to complete their tour, which is one reason why tourists stay less often in the Mekong Delta.
“So why not make a beautiful wooden boat that specializes in supplying fruits, handicrafts and traditional music? This boat has a faster average speed to carry out longer trips. In addition, the floating market lacks tour information for foreign visitors; should explain to them where they need to go, ”Mr. Stiermann Martin said.
As a researcher on Southern folk culture, the author Nham Hung explained: “With its natural characteristics, CNCR was born to buy and sell, not to serve tourism. Therefore, the ultimate goal is to preserve the trade and culture of the floating market. If conserved effectively, it will become a sustainable tourism-tourism product ”.
According to Mr. Nham Hung, when implementing the project of conservation and development of high-tech forest, it is necessary to have consensus and harmony between the interests of both traders - farmers - tourists - the state; there is a way to refresh, but not fade the traditional values ​​of CNCR.
"At the same time, it is necessary to determine the extent of the intervention and support of the state, in order not to disturb trade activities, not to lose the primacy of the floating market", Mr. Nham Hung proposed.

At the end of the seminar, Mr. Duong Tan Hien, Vice Chairman of Can Tho City People's Committee, emphasized 6 things as follows:
Firstly, to continue strictly implementing measures to prevent and fight against Covid-19 epidemics in the new situation, ensuring safety for people and tourists.
Secondly, promoting propaganda and raising awareness of the society about tourism, especially with the people of Cai Rang floating market, about the cultural value of the floating market in tourism development. At the same time, it guides and trains people in tourism knowledge and skills, and creates livelihoods for people from tourism activities at floating markets.
Thirdly, to make statistics of households living on floating markets; Survey on demand for clean water, domestic electricity, toilets and other essential conditions, in order to propose solutions to all sectors to support small businesses to have better living conditions.
Fourth, reviewing investment attraction items, proposing solutions to effectively attract investment; pay attention to construction of embankments, associated with the development of floating markets. Well implement the direction of the city leaders in conservation and development of CNCR, creating a highlight to attract tourists to the city.
Fifth, building quality tourism products and services, associated with commercial life, creating livelihoods for people; pay special attention to environmental landscape, food safety and hygiene; ensure safety, security order and price management; improve civilized and hospitable behavior for people and tourists; building a safe - friendly, quality tourist environment to attract more and more visitors to Cai Rang district.
Finally, the People's Committee of Cai Rang district is assigned to coordinate with relevant departments, agencies and units to review and evaluate the proposed works, ensuring the feasibility, focusing on the general development planning of the district. At the same time, there is a long-term vision forecasts for development in the coming time; in which, it is necessary to determine what works must be done by the State, what needs to be socialized and propose investment support policies to attract investors to implement the works of inviting investment. approved to advise the People's Committee of Can Tho City
Renew old Cai Rang floating market
At this workshop, Mr. Nham Hung, a researcher of Southern folk culture, proposed "6 urgent and long-term solutions to preserve and develop Cai Rang floating market":
- Can Tho river embankment works, section passing the floating market area, must be specially designed, convenient for trade, keep the space "on the wharf, under the boat". Creating conditions for easy transportation, loading and unloading of goods, including aesthetics, can be used for visitors to stand on the shore to admire. It is very important that the construction process does not interrupt floating market operations. Because if there are many obstacles, traders will leave the market and retreat.
- Implement policies to support and loan capital, not only for shopping boats, small services for tourists, but also to pay attention to wholesalers, as this is the main force doing so the floating market.
- In preserving the culture of the floating market, it is necessary to study and have a way of reproducing the reputation of the sale of goods, the way of reciprocating on the river, and the singing of the amateurs on the commercial boats. The reenactment must be true to the original quality of the old market, mixed in the present day floating market scene.
- To avoid the ineffective organization of festivals in the rainy season as long, two events should be merged, "Cai Rang Floating Market" Festival and "Phong Dien Garden Tourism" Festival into "Festival River water - Can Tho garden "in the dry season at the end of the year, as a kind of inviting visitors to Can Tho, immersing in the atmosphere to prepare for Tet.
- Experimenting the model of Can Tho river tourism in association with Cai Rang floating market at night, as a way of doing night economy on the river (maybe “Night with the moon, floating market” or “Night of Can Tho and the actor on river").
- According to the law of change, it is forecast that, with this development momentum, in the next 10-20 years, there may be a narrowing and decline of Cai Rang floating market. Moreover, with the embankment construction, it will cut off the adjacent market, street on the shore. Therefore, it is very important to have a vision and a roadmap. In particular, it is the creation to establish a model of a natural floating market, combined with the self-created floating market. Thus, it will both preserve the original cultural substance; has just renewed the unique tourist specialties of Can Tho floating market and the Mekong River region.
See the original news from Saigon Times at 

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