Rice is the most important daily food for most Southeast Asians. It is generally eaten as the centerpiece of every meal.
The rich soils of the Mekong River delta allow up to three crops of rice per year. Almost two-thirds of Vietnam's food supply is grown in the Mekong delta area southeast of Ho Chi Minh City.
A farmer and young buffalo walk on earthen dikes that contain the standing water needed by wet rice plants during certain stages of their growth.
A bamboo water wheel is used to irrigate rice fields at Mai Chau.
Traditional wet-rice farming requires a great deal of physical labor.
As an alternative to a traditional palm-leaf sunhat, Southeast Asian farmers often wrap long cloths over their hair to protect their heads and necks from dust and rays of the tropical sun.
Water buffalo pull plows and turn soil in preparation for the planting of wet-rice fields.
Large livestock such as cows usually are tended by men in Southeast Asia.
In many parts of Asia, especially in rural areas, animal-powered and motor traffic share the same roads.
Ducks not only provide food for farmers but also weed the rice fields and fertilize the rice with their droppings.
A threshing machine removes the husks from harvested rice.
After threshing, the rice must be winnowed to separate the grains from the husks. This woman is winnowing rice with a woven tray.
In Vietnam, many highland people, sometimes called Montagnards, are wet-rice farmers.
This highland farm house is accompanied by an outbuilding and surrounded by banana palms and a garden.
These thatch-roofed houses are built on wood columns to protect them from wet ground, wild animals, and human intruders.
Wells are often communal, and villagers may fetch water with pails for drinking and washing.
Farmers often build small houses of local materials next to rice fields and live in them temporarily while the fields are in cultivation.
In highland regions of Southeast Asia, most men learn the carpentry skills to build their own homes of wood or other plant materials.
Puppets appear to walk across the surface of the water in a form of drama invented by ancient farmers.
Child care is a responsibility shared and enjoyed by men, women, and teens.
A highland woman walks a water buffalo along a dike in a wet-rice field, while a girl washes clothes in a stream.