Try Farming: Indochine Style

Rice farming may look easy until you get down and dirty and try your hand at it.

Spend half a day on an actual farm cooperative and try your hand at tilling the land using a traditional bullock plow. Then try planting the rice seedlings in neat rows in the freshly tilled land. Back-breaking work? Just as much as manually threshing rice that has been harvested so that the husk separates from the grain, and then carrying sacks of rice to the granary.

It definitely makes you appreciate how much sweat and toil goes into every bowl of rice.

Around 80 percent of the 6 million people in Laos are still involved in rice farming. On average, every Lao person eats around 20kg of sticky rice a month. One hectare of planted rice produces around 2.5-3 tonnes of rice. 

Farmers get up at sunrise and work until lunchtime, and then take a siesta to escape the midday heat.

“It doesn’t bring much money. Working in the fields is very hard, and rice is cheap. You cannot make money from only selling rice, so farmers will have other jobs, like doing crafts, fishing, collecting food, berries and bamboo shoots from the jungle, or selling vegetables,” says one Laotian farmer.

Talk to the local farmers, taste sugarcane juice for a refreshing sugar high, learn traditional basket weaving, and much more. This is a great way to learn about how food travels from the farm to the table.