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Rice farm tour patrons get down and dirty

Update: June, 07/2013 - 10:42
by Hoai Nam
Swinging time: Tourists water rice paddy with bamboo buckets. — Photos courtesy Hoi An Eco Tour

(VNS) In the past, Pham Nhi's family used a firewood stove to cook simple meals of rice, chicken, fish and vegetables from their farm. Today, the family makes a living by recreating the process for tourists.

Tran Van Khoa set up the 720sq.m rice farm in Cam Thanh village, located in the suburbs of Hoi An, for tourists to experience a day in the life of a farmer.

Visitors don the traditional conical hat and boots to work on the field for five hours: ploughing with buffalo, watering with bamboo buckets and sowing and planting rice.

Fine art: Pham Nhi shows visitors how to plant rice in Cam Thanh Village.

Then they harvest their crops to cook them for lunch.

"Seeing how hard Vietnamese farmers work for a day helps tourists understand the value of working on a rice farm," said Khoa, who started the programme following the success of a similar tour with vegetable growers in nearby Tra Que village.

For Nhi, a 61-year-old tour guide, the job is an interesting pastime as well as a paycheck.

Cultivation time: Ploughing is one of the key processes in rice farming. Tourists dubbed this buffalo BMW.

"We were born and grew up farming. Rice cultivation provides enough food for us, but this tourism service provides us with extra income," he said. "It's my job to instruct visitors how to use farming tools. They are so clumsy, all of us always burst into laughter."

Luckily, the visitors are laughing with them.

"The farmers were very friendly with a great sense of humour," said Australian Francesca Byrnes. "I enjoyed getting dirty during the rice planting process."

Michael Plante, a Canadian tourist, expressed equal enthusiasm.

"It's so good to see the traditional way of farming rice in Hoi An. I was impressed with the buffalo when I tried ploughing," he said. — VNS


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