“Part-time farmer” is becoming a trend amongst Vietnamese living in Australia, especially students studying abroad, due to high demands by the country’s farmers.
As farming has been a major contributor for Vietnam’s financial growth for centuries, many Vietnamese are continuing their country’s agricultural heritage overseas in order to earn a living by doing what their families have done for decades.
Nguyen Van Muoi, a Vietnamese farm owner living in a suburb of Brisbane, Australia got his first job on an Australian farm in the early 1980s in order to eke out enough money to pay for daily meals.
Just a few years later, Muoi himself had earned enough money to buy his own farm.
According to Muoi, about 90 percent of farms in the town of Virginia, the suburb where he lives, are Vietnamese-owned, meaning Vietnamese students studying abroad in Australia are able to easily find summer jobs in the local community.
He also shared that each state in Australia tends to specialize in specific kinds of produce so jobseekers are able to identify regions where they might already be familiar with the crops.
“If you like tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers then Virginia is the place to be,” he said.
Ba Hung, another Vietnamese who has made a home in Australia, began his career in the country working on a large tropical fruit farm with over a hundred cows in the northern Australian city of Darwin.
“Farming not only earns me a fortune, but also comforts my homesickness,” he shared.
He also said that farm owners in some Australian states are required to attend training course on applying pesticides to guarantee both product quality and consumer safety.
|A Vietnamese man picks tomatoes on a farm in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: A. D. / Tuoi Tre|
Farming in Australia is considered a freelance job with few legal commitments due to the seasonal characteristic of each crop.
Jobseekers usually work through agricultural contractors who then supply farm owners with suitable workers.
Many Vietnamese agricultural contractors working in Australia are willing to help their compatriots, especially students, find the suitable jobs that allow them to afford basic necessities and extra expenses.
Some contractors even volunteer instruct inexperienced employees on how to do the work for the first few days in order to help them acclimate to their new environment.
But even with a decent income, issues such as neck and back pain, as well as working in unpleasant weather, make farming a demanding job.
Still, many Vietnamese in Australia see it as a way to make ends meet while maintain their roots.