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Methods of growing rice differ greatly in different localities, but in most Asian countries the traditional hand methods of cultivating and harvesting rice are still practiced. The fields are prepared by plowing (typically with simple plows drawn by water buffalo), fertilizing (usually with dung or sewage), and smoothing (by dragging a log over them). The seedlings are started in seedling beds and, after 30 to 50 days, are transplanted by hand to the fields (as shown in this photo taken at Bac Ha, Vietnam) which have been flooded by rain or river water. During the growing season, irrigation is maintained by dike-controlled canals or by hand watering. The fields are allowed to drain before cutting.

With wet-rice cultivation, seeds or seedlings are planted out by hand in rows in slightly drained, or puddled, fields. Throughout growing, water levels in paddy fields are kept to a few centimetres deep to prevent weed growth and ensure there's enough water for the plants to grow. This is done by either flooding during the rainy season, or by planting the rice in naturally swampy areas, or by irrigating using a series of canals or wells. Fields are sometimes temporarily drained for weeding and fertilising.

Rice when it is still covered by the brown hull is known as paddy; rice fields are also called paddy fields or rice paddies. Before marketing, the rice is threshed to loosen the hulls — mainly by flailing, treading, or working in a mortar — and winnowed free of chaff by tossing it in the air above a sheet or mat. The world's leading rice-producing countries are China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Thailand. Total annual world production is more than half a billion metric tons.

Rice cultivation and rice policy are crucial to Viet Nam. Rice accounts for three-quarters of its population’s caloric intake and is grown by more than two-thirds of its households on more than 60 percent of its cropped area. Furthermore, rice sector reforms have had impressive results, stimulating agricultural growth of 5 percent a year and transforming the country from a rice importer into a major exporter.

Rice production in Viet Nam is dominated by small, irrigated farms and concentrated in the Mekong River Delta in the south and the Red River Delta in the north. Rice cultivation is less intensive in
other regions, but rice is by far the most important staple throughout the country. Yield increases were responsible for more than 57% of the rice production growth during 1985–95, with rice area actually declining, and future growth will rely more than ever on raising yields. (Compiled from different sources)





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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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