Ha Tinh farmers harvest rice under cover of darkness

By Duc Hung    April 28, 2019 | 07:16 pm PT
Ha Tinh farmers harvest rice under cover of darkness
Ha Tinh farmers are choosing to harvest their rice from late in the evening. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung
With temperatures soaring to scorching highs, Ha Tinh farmers are choosing to harvest their rice from late in the evening.

Late April is harvest time for the winter-spring rice crop. It is a time when farmers in Tuong Son Commune, Thach Ha District in the central province of Ha Tinh need to work hard, come rain or shine.

But the shine has been too bright over the last few days, and even the hardiest farmers know it is a health risk to work under the scorching sun. So they have sought to rent rice harvesters to work at night. 

For several days now, rice harvesters have started to work in the rice fields at 7 p.m., with 3 to 4 people on hand to carry rice sacks home.

"It is too hot in the morning, so we rent the harvesters at night when it’s cooler, and protect our health," said Nguyen Thi Hop, 50, as she helped her husband to carry a rice sack. The harvesters usually work until 11 p.m., said Hop.

 "When it’s hot like it has been for the last three days, I am not strong enough to go the field," said elderly farmer Duong Kim Bao, 70.

"Even working at night is inconvenient..., but it is better than the day," Bao said. Every night he’s able to harvest around 250 kilograms of rice.

"It is understandable and reasonable that people do this, because the daytime weather can make people fall sick," said Duong Kim Huy, chairman of the Tuong Son People's Committee.

Tran Van Minh, who leases rice harvesters, said that every night he and two other workers can harvest 30 plots (500 square meters each) of rice. He is paid VND130,000 ($5.6) for each slot as soon as he finishes work.

This working schedule fits both the farmers and the harvester operators. "In this season, people rent harvesters at night not only to avoid the sun, but also because they spend time during the day to dry the rice and do other jobs," Minh said.

Last Saturday, Vietnam experienced its highest temperature ever in the province’s Huong Khe District. The Washington Post reported that a recording of 43.4 degrees Celsius, or 110 degrees Fahrenheit, was the highest temperature ever recorded in the country.

Weather experts have cautioned that Vietnam is set to experience one of the hottest summers in history. The average temperature from early April has tended to be 2-3 degrees higher than that of previous years in northern provinces, 3-4 degrees higher in north central provinces, and 0.5-1.5 degrees higher in the southern area and Central Highlands, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

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