The Relation between Traditional Ethnic Handicraft and Cash Income of Local Residents

in Poverty Minority Regions in China.





Time: August 17, 2015 to August 27, 2015.

Site: Leishan county, Qiandongnan autonomous prefecture by Miao and Dong minorities, Guizhou province (贵州省黔东南苗族侗族自治州雷山县). It is located 184 km away from the capital of Guizhou (贵褋E/span>) and 42 km from the capital of the prefecture(凯纴E/span>). In 2012, the population of Leishan is 153 thousands and Miao minority accounts for 84.8% in this county.

According to the categories of respondents, this investigation can be divided to four parts. The first one is the participants and craftsmen of traditional ethnic handicraft (silver ornament and embroidery). The second part is the non-participants in local community. The comparative group mainly involved in cultivation of cash crop and as migrant workers. The third sector is local government. The last one is the relative association.

The detailed information will be showed below respectively.

Part one: craftsmen and participants. There are 43 available respondents in this part through questionnaires and interview. All of the respondents are Miao minority and consist of 12 villages. Here is the concrete distribution on age and gender.

There are three features and findings reflected in this part.

As conventional and significant sector in rural areas, agriculture is no longer the major one in household income. Among 43 respondents, 12 has abandoned cultivation both for grain and cash crop, 17 belongs to self-sufficient. The rest is also in the feeble performance.

Employment or intermittent working mainly concentrated in local place. 22 households choose local county meanwhile 10 opted working out of their county.

Dominant organization form is domestic workshop. Only 6 are working in small companies.

Part two: non-participants in local community. The object of interview is in Nanping village in Leishan(雷山县南屏磥E/span>). The Miao minority accounts for 40% of population in this village. Cultivation of cash crop (waxberry and grape) and working in coastal regions (浙江和广东) are the two origins for household income. Income from fruits cultivation is 4,000 yuan in average per year in one unity. Income from migrant workers can achieved 10,000-20,000 yuan per year. However, the jobs they have capability to do are always physical activities such as in construction site due to the less skills and lack of education. For example, only less than 30% of junior high school graduates continue to high school and further education. Resultantly, the stability of income is extremely vulnerable. Some female of Miao minority who participate in embroidery production in spare time, the cost of time in a large-scale piece is half of a year more or less, and the final price is about 5,000 yuan.

Part three: local government here refers to prefecture level. The purpose of this part is to acknowledge the development of traditional ethnic handicraft from the regional perspective. In the dimension of prefecture, there are over 300 categories of traditional ethnic handicraft. Over 5,000 household refers it as dominant resource of income. Dispersive workshops are about 20,000 and 200 thousands individuals direct or indirect in traditional ethnic handicraft. From the viewpoint of consumption, most of the traditional ethnic handicrafts are provided for local community. Export is limited in academic research and collection. The market is considerable narrow.

Part four: the ethnic handicraft industry association. This institution was built in 2012 and has 136 small enterprises and large numbers of domestic workshops. The significant mission and measure focus on training skills, expansive investigation and participating exhibitions. In short, the role of association in traditional ethnic handicraft is still weak and passive. There are much more potential space for progress.