The normal method of planting rice in this area is by hand-broadcasting seed onto the ground and then rotary-hoeing it under the surface...within a few days the seed will sprout and the fields will turn green.
However, things can go wrong...if there is too much rain too early after broadcasting then the sprouting seeds will drown, or the freshly sprouted seeds might be attacked by a large snail that lives in the moist land.
If either of these events take place then there will be big, ugly gaps in the crop, and so corrective action is called for. Healthy rice plants from another field are ripped out of the wet land in a thinning process, and transplanted in the gaps...a hard job in the hot fields, and particularly wearing on the back. Casual labourers earn about US$1.00 per hour for performing this task. Rice plants seem unconcerned by this harsh treatment.
Here you see a team we engaged for a few days to assist us with repairing gaps in our crop caused by marauding snails. Na provides the team with bonuses in the form of free food, and drinks both soft and alcoholic at various times during each day. It is getting harder each year to find people who are prepared to do this work, as most younger people have gone to Bangkok to find easier work in building construction [mainly women], taxi driving [mainly men] or beer-bar "hostessing" [women and men].
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