Local economy

Long Dinh Mat

Long Dinh Village is located in Long Dinh Commune, Chau Thanh District, Tien Giang Province. The village is famous for the craft of weaving sedge mats in southwestern Vietnam. Thanks to its high quality and eye-catching designs, Long Dinh mats are not only sought after by customers in the domestic market but are also exported to markets like South Korea, Japan and the US.
On Highway 1A, tourists will see a large billboard that says “Welcome to Long Dinh Traditional Mat-Weaving Craft Village”, about 10km from Trung Luong Crossroad. They then turn to provincial Road 867 and continue going for 500m and arrive in Long Dinh Village. Here, mats and ivory-white, green, red, violet and yellow sedges are dried along the village’s roadsides and the whole village is animated with the sounds of mat weaving looms.
The village’s traditional craft was established 50 years ago by craftsmen from famous mat-weaving areas in the North, such as Kim Son in Ninh Binh, so the village’s mat-weaving techniques are different from others in the South. Long Dinh mats are not only nice, thick and durable, but also smooth and airy. Moreover, the prices suit every pocket, thus they are much sought after by merchants form other localities. The products are also exported to South Korea, Japan and the US. At times, about 6,000-7,000 mats are sold per day.
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Weaving mats by machine in Long Dinh Village.
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Old artisans in Long Dinh mat-weaving village.
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Bright colours of sedges after dyeing.
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Skillful hands of mat-weavers in Long Dinh.
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A shop selling Long Dinh mats in Tien Giang Market.
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Long Dinh flowery mats.

Making mats is similar to growing rice as it mostly depends on weather. Every year, in the dry season (from January to April), Long Dinh Village starts its production and in the rainy season (from May to June) the craft has to temporally stop till the coming dry season. Despite difficulties, the villagers are still very diligent and patient to preserve the traditional craft. At present, there are approximately 1,000 households in the village engaging in the craft. To meet the demand of customers, beside traditional sedge mats, Long Dinh villagers also make mats from dry water hyacinth, an available material in the Cuu Long River delta.
Tran Thi Bach Tuyet, who has 40-years experience in making mats, said that in the past people made mats by the traditional method so they only earned about 1.5 million VND per month. Now many households have invested in weaving machines that help increase the production and quality of the products. Therefore, their income is much higher than before, sometimes reaching 12-15 million VND per month. Each employee who can weave 4 to 5 pairs of mats a day can earn tens of thousands of dong per day. It is enough for their daily life.
In recent years, Tien Giang Province has considered the investment for developing traditional craft villages an important move to deal with employment. Thus, in 2007, the province decided to select Long Dinh Village as a typical craft village.
Thanks to the craft, the living standard of local people is much improved. Many spacious houses and infrastructures have been built. However, the village needs to establish an organization to collect products for export that aims at ensuring the prestige of the products as well as the sustainability for the output.
Story: Nguyen Oanh - Photos: Nguyen Luan