It’s 2am in the rice field of Tam Hưng Commune, Thanh Oai District in the western outskirts of Hà Nội. The darkness overwhelms the immense space. Surrounding villages are still deep in sound sleep. Only the sounds of frogs and crickets echo in the field.
Groups of farmers work in the field. The faint light from battery lamps on their heads shed light on the land they are working on.
Farmers work very early in the morning till 8am to avoid the strong sun. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Việt
Local farmers like others in the north and central region are kicking off their summer-autumn crop. In the past weeks, severe sunny days have forced them to work at night to avoid the heat. The outside temperature has exceeded 40 Celsius degrees in the day, especially at noon.
Planting water rice is hard labour. Photo nguoiduatin.vn
However, while working at night, the most experienced farmers can only work at half of their full capacity compared to daylight.
“Our family gets up at 3am to plant young rice,” said Nguyễn Thị Chung, a local farmer. “We work till around 8am and then rest. The sun is so strong these days. We can hardly bare working in the field without any shade."
The lamp attracts insects, which distract the farmers. VNA/VNS Photo
When the sun is strong, water in the field is hot and the young rice plants can be wither and die, Chung said.
Yet wearing a battery light on the head attracts insects. Farmers have to both work and wipe them away.
“It’s tiring working at night but it’s cooler,” farmer Nguyễn Thị Mỹ said.
“It’s better than working under the strong sun when we can hardly breathe. Let alone the young rice may die and we would have to plant again."
Farmer Kiều Văn Hải in the commune possesses some 720sq.m of rice field. At the beginning of each crop, he and his wife plant young rice.
If planted on a hot summer day, the young rice plants may die. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Việt
"Our total rice area does not provide enough rice for us the whole year-round,” said Hải. “That’s why we plant rice at night and use the daytime to work at factories or restaurants to earn more money.”
Working in the rice fields is hard work but locals persevere despite the brutal weather. VNS
Farmers plant rice at night to use the daytime to do other jobs. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Việt
At night, farmers cannot plant as fast as in day time but they can avoid the heat and ensure the health of the rice plants as well. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Việt