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Make money from… straw

Many young people earn an extra income of tens of millions of dongs/per month by traveling on boats carrying straws.

Right at the foot of Ba Lai dam in Tan Xuan commune, Ba Tri district (Ben Tre) is a long-time straw trading wharf in the region. The atmosphere is always busy, especially in the sunny months (from mid-May to December). Many young people here have earned a lot of money thanks to this profession.

“Good running month, profit is 20-30 million dong”

At 8 am, the big boat of Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Giau (28 years old, living in Bao Thuan commune, Ba Tri district) was anchored at the straw wharf. On the boat are hundreds of rolls of dry yellow straw that are fragrant and fragrant.

Most of the traders at the wharf are coconut people

Mr. Giau said that before, his boat only carried furniture and machinery… but when he saw that trading in straw brought high income, he immediately changed his job. “I think trading straw for food is also good. A good month of running, a profit of 20-30 million dong,” he confided.

The 28-year-old boy shared that many people often go by boat to buy straw in the provinces of Long An, Dong Thap, and An Giang. On each trip, they can carry at most nearly 2,000 straw rolls (each roll weighs from 15-18 kg), and his boat can carry 1,200 rolls.

“In the dry season, I can carry one trip every 3 days (2 days to and from and 1 day to collect straw). In the rainy season, it takes 5-7 days/trip. Currently, the input price of straw is from 18,000 – 20,000 VND/roll, the output is 25,000 VND – 28,000 VND/roll. If all expenses are deducted for travel, parking, and labor to carry, I make a profit of 5-7 million VND/trip,” he said.

Mr. Giau said that doing this job in the dry season is very hard, and in the rainy season, it takes time to wait for the straw to dry, but the input and output are stable. “After working hard, I got used to it, no longer feeling itchy with straw. When there are goods, people call to pick them up, when they come back, they have all the termites, just ask the porter to come to the place”, Mr. Giau said.

Looking at dozens of boats moored ashore, eager to carry and trade straw is enough to understand that Mr. Giau is not worried about the profession he pursues.

“Sometimes there is still a shortage of straw to sell,” said Mr. Minh Luan (29 years old, from Ba Tri) sitting nearby.

2 years ago, Mr. Luan worked as a seaman, fishing far from the shore, and then switched to trading straw. “I invested nearly 200 million VND to buy a boat. It’s not too big, but it can also carry nearly 1,200 straw rolls/trip,” he shared.

Mr. Luan said: “Since I was a child, I have been floating on the river, the driving of boats and boats is familiar, but when I switch from running on the sea to the river, it is also difficult. The creek in the river is quite small, while the boats pass a lot, so they have to be avoided and dodged very badly. In the rainy season, I can only carry straw a few times. In my free days, I repair the boat, build a father, cover it carefully, and then go find another job as a carpenter, carpenter … “.

Most of the people carrying the straw are young

The 9x guy added: “To park at the wharf also has to pay costs, if the boat carries 1,200 rolls, it will pay 120,000 VND, 2,000 rolls will lose 200,000 VND. The selection of good, quality straws is based on professional experience. At first, when I went to the provinces to collect straw, I was not familiar, I saw that every roll was taken and returned to be criticized by buyers. Usually straw must be bright yellow or white to be “delicious”. The brown straw rolls are moldy, only used to make mushrooms, but cows can’t eat them. Each roll weighs about 15 kg, cows can eat it for a few days.

After the boats carrying the straw anchored to the wharf, many young men rushed to carry them on the waiting farm truck. After a few minutes, it was full of goods, one car going out, another car coming in, continuously. The salary for this worker is 1,000 VND/roll of straw. According to observations, the workers carrying the straw are mostly young people, aged 20-35.

Sweat-soaked the T-shirt, Mr. NVTý (25 years old, living in H.Ba Tri) still enthusiastically carried each straw. “Almost every day I work, just do a little or a lot. This profession has the power to do it all. At the highest I also earn 600,000 VND/day”, he said.

Mr. Nguyen Van Truc (45 years old, from Tan Xuan, Ba Tri), who is the coordinator of the group carrying the straw at this straw wharf, said that his group has 12 members.

“Almost every day there are boats operating at the wharf. Each roll of straw is paid 1,000 VND. If anyone follows the straw truck to the place to buy it, they will be paid 3,000 VND”, Mr. Truc shared.

“At this wharf, the carrying work must follow the regulations, not everyone who wants to go to work can enter. Usually, the average income of the brothers in the carrying group is twice as much as the extra fee. Some people work from morning to afternoon and earn millions of dong, but I don’t recommend it because it’s not good for health if you carry too much, ” Truc said.

Mr. Truc said that near Ba Lai dam sluice, there are 4 straw market wharves, on the other side of the river is H.Binh Dai, Ben Tre also has a wharf. Every day, there are boats carrying straws back.

“For more than 4 years carrying straw at the wharf, sometimes I also want to be the owner by buying a boat. But to be honest, it’s not a lack of finance, but now my job is a lot because I have to raise more than 10 cows, take care of a few orchards, and take care of my family, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to go far,” he confided.

Mr. Ngoc Chau (left) has been carrying straw for more than 3 years now

Borrow money to buy a boat

Ms. Nguyen Thi Le (living in Tan Xuan commune, Ba Tri district) said that her 34-year-old daughter has also been carrying straws for more than 4 years. “My son’s boat carries more than 2,000 straw rolls/trip. In the dry season, there are more than a dozen trips. If subtracting the cost of engine oil, meals, hiring workers… the profit is 10-12 million VND/trip. There are people with limited financial resources who also borrow money to buy boats. This job is easy. The people of this Ba Tri country raise cows in a “terrible” quantity, so they always need a straw, it’s just difficult at first to find termites”, Ms. Le said.

Mr. Nguyen Huu Hoc, Head of H.Ba Tri Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the locality has quite a large herd of cows with more than 100,000 cows. “Today, in addition to buying straw as food for cows, Ba Tri people also buy straw to reserve in case the seawater intrudes without straw affecting livestock production,” Hoc said.

 (According to Thanh Nien)

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