The season of breaking bamboo shoots in the highlands

BINH THUAN – When bamboo shoots are in full bloom, people in the highlands of My Thanh, Thuan Nam district, go to the forest to break bamboo shoots and sell them, earning 350,000 – 400,000 VND a day.

At 6 a.m., Ms. Tran Thi Trinh, 40 years old, and Raglai women in My Thanh commune bring baskets to the forest to break bamboo shoots. This is the bamboo shoot season, many people go to the forest to take bamboo shoots to make money.

Trinh followed the trail in the old field, crossed 3 streams, and walked up to the bamboo forest 5 km from the village. After a heavy rain last week, in the bamboo groves, many bamboo shoots sprouted 20-40 cm high from the ground.

Seeing the bamboo shoots, Trinh used her feet to wear boots, kicked hard, and the bamboo shoots flew out white. At first, after kicking any bud, she immediately peeled that bud and put it in the bag. But when entering a deeper area, the bamboo shoots grow thick, or she kicks with her feet, then gathers them, peels them clean, and puts them in a basket.

“At the beginning of the bamboo shoot season, I had to use a sharp nose to hit the root, but now that the bamboo shoots are grown, I just need to use my foot to kick,” Trinh said.

The forests here have a lot of bamboo. At the beginning of the season, Trinh and the villagers went near, but now in the middle of the season, many people go to get them, so they have to go further, even climbing the mountain to have many delicious bamboo shoots.

“In the high season, I get about 60 kilograms of cassava every day, some days 70 kilograms, and earn about 400 thousand,” Trinh said and said that someone is better than her, earning a ton of bamboo shoots a day.

Tran Thi Trinh breaks bamboo shoots, September 4.  Photo: Tu Huynh
Tran Thi Trinh breaks bamboo shoots, September 4. Photo: Tu Huynh

Ms. Nguyen Thi Hue, a person who went to collect bamboo shoots with Ms. Trinh, said that every day from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., she had 70-75 kilograms of bamboo shoots and sold 500,000 VND. “Earning this amount of money is not easy,” Hue said.

According to Ms. Hue, recently, people in neighboring areas in Ham Thuan Nam and Ham Thuan Bac also went to My Thanh forest to break bamboo shoots, so bamboo shoots are becoming less and less. In the past, it was only necessary to go to the forest for a few hours, the farmer picked a whole bag, now bamboo shoots have to go much less distance, and sometimes have to climb the mountain.

Every time she goes to collect bamboo shoots, in addition to the permanent bag on her shoulder, Ms. Hue also brings a large bag to carry. When the bamboo shoots in the basket are full, she will put them in a bag hidden by the stream, then continue. When the second bag is full, she will come back to get it, then go down the mountain.

“Going to pick bamboo shoots must have the health to walk and carry; otherwise, they can only get a little, without much income,” said Ms. Hue.

Healthy people like Ms. Hue and Ms. Trinh often go to get bamboo shoots, 5-10 km from the village. The elderly and children, with weak health, often hang around in the area of ​​​​Cau mausoleum or under Turtle Mountain near the village.

“I’m old, I just take it from the stream and the forest near my house, one morning about 150,000 VND is enough to cover the salt and fish sauce for the day,” said Mrs. Yen, a man with bamboo shoots at the foot of Turtle Mountain.

Mrs. Yen, Raglai ethnic group (My Thanh commune) sits at the edge of the forest and peels bamboo shoots before bringing them back to the village to sell.  Photo: Tu Huynh
Mrs. Yen, Raglai ethnic group (My Thanh commune) sits at the edge of the forest and peels bamboo shoots before bringing them back to the village to sell. Photo: Tu Huynh

Bamboo shoots are an auxiliary plant that helps people in the highlands of My Thanh increase their income, besides agricultural production, mainly making crops, corn, and noodles in just one rainy season, depending on the water source.

According to local people, My Thanh forest has 5 popular types of bamboo shoots, named after each species of bamboo, such as: bamboo shoots, bamboo shoots, bamboo shoots, rock bamboo shoots, and prickly bamboo shoots. Among them, bamboo shoots are the most popular, because of its sweetness and can be cooked, reheated, and can still be used for a long time.

“Therefore, bamboo shoots are bought at the highest price, 15,000 dongs per kilogram, while the rest of the bamboo shoots are bought for 6,000-7,000 dong per kilogram,” said Mrs. Nam, a bamboo shoot collector in the area. know.

The bamboo shoot season in this highland starts from July to early October and ends. The harvested bamboo shoots are brought back to be sold to dry bamboo shoots in the village to make bamboo shoots for sale to the lowlands. Some others sell to focal points to buy fresh bamboo shoots to make sour bamboo shoots, distribute them to markets in Phan Thiet, Ham Thuan Nam, Ham Tan, La Gi and the provinces of Dong Nai, Ba Ria – Vung Tau…

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