On a picturesque sedge field in the midday sun, farmers in Vung Liem harvest and dry sedge like real artists.
The sedge field of Trung Thanh Dong commune, Vung Liem district, is planted neatly when viewed from above. In the far distance, there is a ripe rice field, which is about to be harvested.
The series of photos was taken by photographer Luong Nguyen Anh Trung in February 2020.
Sedge is one of the common plants in freshwater wetlands. This type of seagrass has long been used widely and environmentally friendly because it can make mats, handicrafts, baskets instead of plastic bags.
Trung Thanh Dong commune is considered the “capital” of sedge of Vinh Liem, with an area of over 200 hectares planted on 300 hectares of the whole district. Also, this seagrass is grown in Thanh Binh, Trung Thanh Tay, and Trung Ngai communes.
According to Trung, the sedge is planted all year round. Along with the green fields in Co Chien River, the scenery is even impressive when mixed with the yellow of ripe rice.
The sedge here has a rounder body, is thicker, and longer than the wild sedge. Although it only needs to be planted once, the sedge is also periodically fertilized, sprayed like rice. Every 4-5 months, there will be harvested time, depending on the height of the tree, usually 1.8 m.
The green sedge beds, together with coconut beds, and ripe rice create a colorful picture when viewed from above. More than 20 years ago, instead of growing wild, the sedge was officially grown by farmers instead of traditional wet rice in Vung Liem district, Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta. Sedge is easy to grow, not soil picky, and can adapt to drought and salt conditions. One year, the sedge can harvest 3-4 crops.
People harvest fresh sedges from the field very early to catch up when it is sunny. Sedge harvest involves several stages such as cutting, chopping, cutting the roots, drying and tying so many workers are needed. People can help each other work for each household or hire workers. Each harvest lasts about a month, an average yield of 1.2 to 1.6 tons per crop. Then people proceed to weed.
The bundles of sedges softly twist in each rhythm of the flexible hand.
After tying the sedge into individual stems, people shook the sedge to drop the garbage, short yellowing stems. Rinsing is a job that requires good health, so it is usually done by men.
A dedicated machete user cuts the stem of the rush, before splitting.
The sedges spread like strips of green fans.
Seagrass sedge is often drying on the field. Drying is an important stage, usually takes one to two sunny days. Seagrass after drying will be transported home or traders will come to buy on site. Dried sedges type I sells for 15,000 – 16,000 VND per kg. The type II and III costs from 9,000 to 11,000 VND.
The “sedge flowers” are laid next to the brilliant fields in the midday sun. The author shared, to make the series, he had to get up early 2-3 hours in the morning and then beamed in the midday sun to capture the sun-drying photo when the sun rose at the top of his head.
Children follow their parents to the field.
Not only the green fields, the peaceful pace of life in the countryside and the simplicity of the western farmers are endless inspiration for photographers.
At the end of December 2019, DoCST organized a survey on tourism potential of Vinh Liem district and agreed that this place has enough conditions to make a new and attractive destination in the province. In addition to river eco-tourism, visiting orchards and craft villages in Dai isle, visitors can visit cultural and historical relics such as Hanh Phuc Tang Pagoda, Chu Van Tiep Temple …
A minute of rest of the farmers on the sedge field.
Seagrass is chopped when it’s fresh because withering will be difficult to do. This stage requires a dedicated machine and 2 people to do it. Rough, homemade machines produce five times the productivity of a hand-made machine.
After the trip, what Trung impressed the people here was the most friendly and hospitable. When shooting, people always support and ask him. “Despite the hard work, the sun and the fog, they always have smiles on their lips. They talk to me that taking pictures to let the people of the city know that we are very, very happy,” he said.