From 1-2 a.m. until morning, the worm crawls from the ground and swims on the water surface. At this time, people use lanterns to catch and collect the blessings from heaven and enjoy the fruits after many months of waiting.
These days, people in Khanh Cong commune, Yen Khanh district, Ninh Binh province are busy harvesting the worm crop. People are happy and excited because the worm harvest has a good price. Some nights, 30-40kg of worms were collected, sold for 350-500 thousand VND/kg, pocketing tens of millions of VND.
Mr. Pham Van Xuyen (village 11, Khanh Cong commune) shared that in the past, the local land along the Day River was only cultivated for one crop. Many families do not work effectively and are abandoned.
“Seeing the area of riverside land being wasted, I feel very sorry. I always wonder why on the same riverside land, people in Hai Duong and Hai Phong can make rice worms, earning hundreds of millions every year in our country. Just around every year one rice crop and a few fish,” Mr. Xuyen said.
From then on, Mr. Xuyen packed his bags and went to learn about the model of renovating riverside beaches to raise worms. Up to now, he has had more than 10 years of making worms and reaping the rewards. The experience he learned is that in order to harvest worms, the most important thing is to keep the environment clean.
Many households agreed to surround their fields into a large area. The households told each other to work together, plant a spring rice crop, apply organic production processes, and absolutely not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. From April to May of the lunar calendar, after harvesting rice, farmers will improve the land, regulate tides, and then harvest worms.
Mr. Pham Van Trong, Chairman of Khanh Cong Commune People’s Committee, said that in the commune, there are currently about 5 hectares of swamps and riverbanks that have been renovated by people to exploit sandworms. Thanks to this profession, many families have high incomes and become well-off in the locality.
The worm makers in Khanh Cong shared that the worms are harvested sporadically from August to November of the lunar calendar. However, the main harvest time when worms come out in abundance is two days, September 20 and October 5 (lunar calendar). That’s why people have the saying “twenty in September, fifth in October”.
According to Mr. Xuyen, the time from 1-2 a.m. until morning is when the worms crawl from underground to swim on the water surface. This is also the time when people use lanterns to harvest worms until dawn.
To harvest worms, when the tide recedes, people will open the sluices to let the water recede, and the worms float with the flow. At the culverts, there will be mesh bags to collect the worms. Each batch takes about 15-20 minutes, yielding 7-10kg and then poured out and taken back for cleaning.
After being picked up, the worms are washed, sorted, and sold in trays to traders. The steps must be done manually and meticulously, so that the worms do not burst. If the worm breaks, it must be thrown away.
Mr. Xuyen boasted that with an area of 2 hectares, each year his family collects 1.5-2 tons of worms, minus expenses, the profit is 500 million VND. This year, just at the beginning of the crop, he has already collected 4 batches, some days less than 1 quintal, other days more than 2 quintals.
During the main season, the worms are evenly large, pink-red in color, full of milk, and rich in nutrients. This is also the busiest time of the year when people harvest sandworms. Traders from all over come to buy, and sell all the worms they harvest.
Mr. Pham Van Khoa (in hamlet 7, Khanh Cong commune) shared that he had to stay up all night and day to watch for floating worms, especially on windy and cold rainy days. Harvesting, therefore, is quite difficult. However, the result is that the worms sell for a high price, so the workers feel warmed up.
The model of consolidating rice fields, creating rice worm fields in Yen Khanh, Ninh Binh has initially achieved results. Replicating the method to other localities in the province, where there is riverside land, is also being carefully considered. Since then, the local government has had appropriate support policies for the people to develop the economy from this type of product known as a “godsend”.
Photo,Video: Internet (Vinlove.net)