The sedge fields in Vung Liem District’s Trung Thanh Dong Commune in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long look neat and organized when seen from above.
Sedge fields bathed in sunshine is a picturesque scene in Mekong Delta:
A sedge field bathed in sunshine is a picturesque scene that epitomizes the countryside idyll.
The sedge fields in Vung Liem District’s Trung Thanh Dong Commune in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long look neat and organized when seen from above. In the distance is a ripe rice field ready for harvest. The photos were taken by Luong Nguyen Anh Trung in February 2020.
Sedge is a common plant in freshwater areas. It is used widely because of its environmental friendliness to make mats, handicrafts and baskets.
Trung Thanh Dong Commune is considered the sedge capital of Vung Liem, with over 200 hectares under this crop, accounting for two thirds of the district’s. It is also grown in nearby communes like Thanh Binh, Trung Thanh Tay and Trung Ngai. The sedge is grown all year round along the Co Chien River.
The sedge species here has a rounder structure and is harder and longer than wild sedge. Though it only needs to be planted once, the plant is fertilized regularly like rice. It is harvested every four or five months when it grows to around 1.8 m in height.
Green sedge fields, coconut trees and ripe rice fields create a colorful scene. Farmers in Vung Liem District switched from their traditional rice to sedge more than 20 years ago.
Sedge is easy to grow, does not require any particular type of soil and can withstand drought and saltwater.
People harvesting sedge often go to the fields very early to dry it in the sun. Since the harvest involves many stages, many workers are required. The harvest season lasts about a month and the average yield is 1.2-1.6 tons per hectare.
After tying the sedge into bundles, people shake them to remove short and yellow ones. Since this requires physical strength, it is usually done by men.
A man uses a special tool to cut the roots of the plants before chopping them into smaller pieces.
The sedge, after being chopped, is dried on the field. Drying is an important stage and usually requires one to two days of sunshine. After drying it is taken home or sold to traders right on the farm.
Best quality dried sedge fetches VND15,000-16,000 per kilogram, and lower quality types, VND9,000-11,000.
Sedge drying in the midday sun. The author said to get this photo he had to get up at 2-3 a.m. and stood under the hot sun to capture them.
Children accompany adults to the fields.
Not only the emerald fields but also the gentle pace of life in the countryside and the simplicity of the Mekong Delta farmers provide endless inspiration for photographers.
At the end of December last year Vinh Long Province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism organized a survey on the tourism potential of Vung Liem District and agreed it could be a new and attractive destination in the Mekong Delta.
In addition to river eco-tourism, orchards and craft villages in Dai Isle, visitors can also take in cultural and historical relics such as the Hanh Phuc Tang Pagoda and Chu Van Tiep Temple.
A farmer takes a few minutes off from work.
The sedge is chopped when still fresh because it is difficult to do so later when they harden. Chopping requires a special tool and two people. The self-made tool makes work five times more productive than by hand.
What impressed author Trung most about the people there were their friendliness and hospitality. When he was taking the pictures, people were always ready to help him.
“Despite the hard work under the sun, they always have a smile on their faces. They told me these photos will let people in the city know their work is challenging yet they are always happy.”