To beat the heat, Vietnam rice farmers resort to planting at night

By Minh Nguyen
HANOI (Reuters) - Under a pitch black night sky, a group of Vietnamese farmers planted rice on a paddy field on the outskirts of Hanoi this week with spotlights to illuminate the water-filled soil in front of them.
The farmers of Tam Thanh parish say that they have been forced to work in the fields at night to prevent the temperatures they say from getting worse over the years.
"The temperature rises by a degree or two (Celsius) each year," said Le Van Ha, 40, who accuses tree felling in the area of ​​making the temperature more extreme.
Ha, who doesn't want his children to follow his path to agriculture, said he got up at 2 a.m. to avoid coping with the day's stress.
Although night work has reduced productivity, avoiding the heat can make them work much longer.
Vietnam was reported to have had the highest temperature measured in the Ha Tinh province in central Vietnam last year, at 43.4 degrees Celsius (110 Fahrenheit).
An official from the National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting in Vietnam said that many parts of the country suffered from new heat waves this year, even though temperatures have been below record highs last year.
The temperatures in North and Central Vietnam were between 35 ° C and 40 ° C on Thursday, according to the center.
Another farmer, Thai Hong Ngoc, 50, said that planting at night caused far fewer rice plants to wither due to the extreme heat, and is grateful that they now have machines to harvest.
"If I had to harvest the harvest manually as before, I would certainly just leave it there. It's just too hot," said Ngoc.

(Additional reporting by Khanh Vu; writing by Ed Davies; editing by Mike Collett-White)

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