Update: 16:30 | 18/02/2018
There was a time people in Phu Tan village, in central Phu Yen province, thought sedge mat weaving, the region’s traditional craft, was going to die out. The old production method was labor intensive and inefficient.
Tricky work: A woman finishes up a mat. Mat weaving, while no longer a
That was when several villagers decided to pool their resources together to set up machines to help them out with mat weaving. With an initial investment of nearly 45,000 USD, they were able to set up two machines and several years later the village has 10 machines working day and night.
“There is still a market for our hand-made products but most people prefer the machine-made ones. They are more durable and comfortable to use,” said Nguyen Van Phong, a villager who works one of the machines.
Brighten the home: Sedge is dyed various bright
“They also require more material and therefore, more expensive. The hand-made mats are usually cheaper,” he added.
The 25-hectare sedge field is no longer enough to provide the village with material for mat weaving. The village has been buying sedge from nearby villages for a few years now.
Quality control: A
There are plans to increase sedge production to meet future demand by the mat weaving workshops. Local agriculture departments are working with farmers to expand the village sedge field.
The village’s mats were selected as one of the 13 traditional craft products to represent the province of Phu Yen.