DIEN BIEN (VNS)— Twice a year, during the harvest season, farmers in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien place straw and grains to dry them along major highways.
While this raises the risk of traffic accidents, local authorities are reluctant to impinge on residents' livelihoods by doing away with the grains.
"Local farmers depend on the rice, so we cannot remove their products, as they would suffer great losses," said Lo Van Lun, chairman of the Muong Muon Commune People's Committee.
Local authorities have attempted to introduce measures to end the practice – such as by informing them that the act is a violation and can cause accidents – but to little effect.
This year the drying process started last month, with grains stretching along nearly 100km of National Highway 12 between Dien Bien Phu City and Lai Chau Province.
Passing through Dien Bien District's Thanh Nua and Muong Pon communes and Muong Cha District's Muong Muon Commune, drivers can see piles of straw encroaching on the roadbed.
The farmers also burn straw on the side of the road and under electricity poles, despite the risk to drivers.
"I know that drying the straw on the highway may cause accidents, but there's so much rice that I'm forced to dry it here until the rice is plucked off," said Lo Van Binh, a farmer in Pung Giat Village, Muong Muon Commune.
Tong Van Vuong, a farmer in Muong Pon Commune's Co Chay Village, said he did not have any land to dry the rice, so he had to dry it on the highway, even though he knew it violated traffic safety regulations. — VNS