From north to south, the Greater Mekong River Sub-region covers very different climatic zones: temperate, subtropical and tropical, and the region’s numerous rivers provide it with the ideal conditions for growing rice plants, whether it be on top of mountains, on vast flat plains and even by the sea. This region is known as the earth’s major rice basket, and, naturally enough, rice is the staple food for local people, and also their major source of income. Here rice farming determines the style and pace of local life to such an extent that the history of local civilization and the history of rice farming are virtually one and the same.
The story begins with a folk ballad that tells of the sowing and harvesting of rice, and in this region there different varieties: dry rice in the mountainous areas of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), water rice in Vietnam and Cambodia, and a very rare species known simply as “wild rice” which is as precious in the plant world as the panda is in the animal world.
We will see farming in a variety of forms and witness unique methods of sowing and harvesting that speak of the relationship between the local people and nature, their agricultural civilization, and their gratitude towards Nature, in this region nourished by the great Lancang-Mekong River.