A day in the life of a Vietnamese rice farmer

Vietnamese rice farmers

Vietnam Rice farming working with water buffalo

Vietnamese rice farmers lives is extremely hard. They must wake up before the sun comes up to get started on their work.

I used to live in rural Vietnam as a rice farmer for 16 years before moving to stay in Hanoi so I know how hard the lives of the farmers is. Today, I would like to write about Vietnamese farmers from my personal experience.

Vietnamese Rice farmers have hard lives

In the old days, they often walk from home to the rice paddy field but now by bicycle or motorbike. They take a break under a big banyan tree or right at the edge of the rice field for taking a cup of fresh green tea or smoke tobacco.

They return home around noon time to have lunch and take a nap and return to rice paddy field around 2.30pm. Each family member has certain jobs to perform.

Men do heavy labor like plowing, digging, transferring rice to their home by Xe Tho “Vietnamese bamboo bike” . Vietnamese women are really dedicated and hard working.

They often  work around the home and pant, weed and harvest on the rice field. The old and young kids stay at home and do some light works such as sweeping the floor, cook lunch and dinner, feed animals, wash clothes and son on.

The whole family work on the rice field with planting or harvesting rice.  They often wear cotton trousers and shirts, which can easily folded up and away from mud and water. Most of them wear rubber boost . “Non La” or conical shaped hats widely used in Vietnam to protect them from the sun lights and rains.

The day ends up with a family meal together. It’s a great time for all family members to share their stories and get closer each other. As you can see at their working schedule, they work so hard from early morning till the late evening, which is almost 12 hours a day .

They are also working 7 days a week. You can image, they work over 80 hours a day which is twice total amount of time period than those working in the office. But life is never go easy. When it comes to the bad weather such as typhoons, storms, heavy rain or drought , rice productivity is going low so it makes life harder and harder for the rice farmers so they are worried about the weather all the time so they pray to Buddha, God for bumper crop. An average productivity for both of the seasons is around 300 to 360 kilograms of rice. After deducing the cost for pesticide, herbicide, fertilizer etc… , the benefit are their own power

What has changed about rice farmers’lives

Most of the young are from 18 to 30 years old at a low level of education in rural areas are taking labor works in the industrial parks, big cities or overseas because of much better income than working on the rice field.

When it comes to harvest season, they might do harvesting or hire someone to do it instead.

Both husband and wife from rural villages are now working in the big cities. The man is working as a builder while the woman is working as a street vendors. If they have a kid who are studying in a university or college, it is a big challenge in term of financial issues how to earn enough money to support their kids.

A common saying from a rice farmer to their kids is “Study harder, pass university entrance exam in order to get a “good job” with good income for a better future. Otherwise, you will be like us, following a water buffalo plowing on the rice field. It is always in my mind as a boy was born and raised in a rural village.
Hanoi Eco Tour’s team hope this article will help you understand more about hard lives of Vietnamese rice farmers. If you want to experience real lives a rice farmer . Let’s join wet rice cultivation tour in Hanoi with Hanoi Eco Tours for true local experience

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David Nguyen : Freelancer tour guide as well as a passionate writer for Hanoi Eco Tour, who has been working over 10 years in the tourism industry. All articles are written by him from his REAL travel experiences, down to earth and unique.

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