Rice Cultivation



Rice Cultivation

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Rice is Vietnam’s primary food staple and the country’s most vital cash crop. The rice industry employs almost 80 percent of the country’s population in one way or another. The majority of rice pro duction in Vietnam takes place in the Mekong Delta, the fertile soil of which has contributed signi ficantly to making Vietnam the world’s second-largest exporter of rice. A significant portion of this enor mous productivity is the result of hard manual and animal labor. Fields are usually ploughed not by tractors but by water buffaloes, and irrigation is managed not by pumps, but by teams of people wielding two-handed buckets or watertight woven baskets.


The seeds for paddy rice are germinated and allowed to shoot outside the fields, often in trays or pots. When the shoots are a few inches high, they are brought to the paddy field for final planting.

Harvesting is done by stoop labor, usually by men and women using hand sickles.

After threshing, winnowing, and separating the grain from the sheaves and chaff, the rice is laid out on mats to dry in the sun.

Although some rice is transported by ox-cart and truck, water remains the most traditional as well as the most efficient means in the Mekong of getting the rice to market.

The Rice Wrapper Factory

Rice wrappers (banh trang) are ubiquitous in Vietnamese cuisine. Almost any food can be wrapped in one and eaten like a sandwich or burrito. The wrappers are prepared in various kitchens and factories throughout the country. A thin batter of rice flour and water is poured over a cloth stretched over a pot of simmering water. The rising steam cooks the mixture in a matter of seconds; the wrapper is then laid on a woven bamboo mat or tray to dry, giving banh trang its distinctive crisscross pattern.



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