Rice farming in Vietnam
Vietnam rice farming has often been likened to one of those two-basket panniers the Vietnamese use to carry things – they look rather like a justice scale with the fulcrum on the shoulder. This is because the Mekong in the south and the Red River in the north are indeed rice baskets, producing vast quantities of grain that feed the rest of Vietnam.
Vietnam rice (as in all of Asia) is not just that fluffy white stuff in a box that you dig out once a month as an accompaniment to your favorite lemon chicken. Rice is life. Almost no meal goes by without it (as a matter of fact, the Vietnamese often don’t even call it a meal if it doesn’t include rice). The poor mountain Vietnamese say “there is no money” and “there is no rice” interchangeably because if they had money, they would use it to buy rice. In many areas rice is money – it is the traditional currency.
There are two principal ways to grow rice – in wet paddy or on dry hillsides. The paddy rice yields a high tonnage per hectare but requires more labor. The dry rice is usually planted by poor farmers who have no access to water or live on slopes too steep to terrace.
How to grow Vietnam rice
With a few possible variations, these are the steps required to grow rice (assuming the paddy has already been constructed).
- Flood the paddy.
- Pull out all the floating paddy weeds and dump them on the dike to dry
- Empty the paddy with an engine or scoop
- gather together the remaining fish and other creepy-crawlies and eat them
- dig small channels in the mud to help dry the field
- Clean the paddy walls of old growth
- Plow the paddy twice with a pair of water buffalo
- Smooth out the paddy so that its absolutely flat and therefore evenly moist
- Dig and fertilize rice seedling beds along one side of the field
- germinate the rice for 48 hours.
- Plant rice in seedling beds
- After rice is 4-6 inches tall, pull it up, bundle it, and carry it out into the main fields.
- Replant 3-5 seedlings at a time approximately 6 inches apart in every available inch of field
- Fertilize regularly with cow manure or night waste
- Weed around each cluster of seedlings several times as they grow taller.
- Add water regularly to paddy, using a scoop if necessary
- When rice is ripe, harvest with a sharp, curved knife and bundle into sheaves
- Thrash rice to remove it from the plant.
- Dry rice in the sun
- Thresh rice to separate it from the husks
- Winnow rice to remove the husks
- Store in a dry place.
If you want to have an in-depth understanding of Vietnamese food culture , rice farming and want to learn how to grow wet rice , let’s book wet rice growing tour with us. Please note that rice in Vietnam is also very important to Vietnamese way of life and Vietnam is a country with rich wet rice growing culture.