Hoang Su Phi rice paddies
Hoang Su Phi (a national heritage)
Hoang Su Phi, the magnificent terraced rice fields, which is 110km away from Ha Giang’s centre to the west, at the altitude of 1,000m above sea level, it is estimated that the terraced rice fields were created around 300 years ago, and have been handed down through generations by the district’s 14 ethnic groups. The recognised rice fields cover 760ha of total 3,000ha of fields in six communes: Ban Luoc, San Sa Ho (which belongs to ethnic Dao and Nung groups); Ban Phung (La Chi group); and Ho Thau, Nam Ty and Thong Nguyen (Red Dao group), where the fields stretch into enormous mountains.
Hoang Su Phi people (happy happy)
The Dao and Nung always choose land near a water source for making rice fields, while the Red Dao choose the most fertile area. All locals know that to keep water on high mountains they should leave the forests on top of the mountain and make terraced fields only from the middle of mountains or hills. The Red Dao in Ho Thau commune spare a small area of forest surrounding the terraced fields to avoid land slides. Locals work from the top of the mountain or hill to the bottom, using simple tools like hoes, wooden rakes, shovels and curved knives. Making field steps and building dikes on steps to hold water is a difficult task, which requires experience in cultivation.
The Ha Giang provincial People’s Committee held a ceremony on Sep-16th to receive a certificate from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recognising the Hoang Su Phi terraced fields as a national heritage site.
In order to use the magnificent terraced rice fields to improve people’s lives, local authorities have tested a high-yield rice variety and will distribute it widely to locals if it is effective. The fields also reflect vividly various cultivation methods deployed by different ethnic minority groups inhabited in the place. Members of the La Chi group, for example, often create terraced fields in areas suitable for building other facilities. For them, the most even surface would be used for building a house, a courtyard, garden, poultry cage and store house. Rice fields are always made above, below or surrounding the house.