Planting in the rice fields

Rice, or "com" as it's written here, is the staple food of Vietnam. I don't think I can write anything that would make you picture the omni-presence of rice fields in this country. It's a small country with a very big population - smaller than California with more than twice the population and none of the money to import food as California can. Everywhere you go in Vietnam you see the muddy fields and vivid green of rice. The seedlings are grown very close together and then transplanted to the fields by hand - I don't understand the reasons for this process, rather than planting the seeds right in the field. But it does make me think that "fair trade" rice would cost Canadians and Americans four times as much as it currently does, and those low prices are probably the main reason it isn't grown in the U.S. even though it's used a lot there.

Rice is also seen a lot in Thailand and Laos (probably in Myanmar too, I wasn't looking for it) - but nothing like in Vietnam.