For a long time, the Mong people in Dong Van Karst Plateau in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang have preserved a technique of casting a special kind of plough that is suitable for rocky soils.

With its high geological value, the plateau was officially recognised as a Global Geo-Park by the UNESCO Global Geo-parks Network (GGN) in 2010. It is the first certificate ever issued in Vietnam and only the second in Southeast Asia.

Over the years, the plateau has been home to several ethnic groups, but primarily the Mong people who survive by farming in rare plots scattered on rocky mountainsides.

The image of the plateau is one of an immense, rugged, rocky, mountain area with occasional strips of rocky earth dispersed between mountainous creeks and rivers. Predictably, it is no easy task for local people to farm here.

They cannot use the normal ploughs that are typically used in the plains because the ploughs simply break or are quickly damaged by rocks.

Grinding clay to make the mould

Mixing the rock and oak charcoal flour to coat the casting mould

Making the mould smooth with a mixture of oak charcoal and rock flour

The mould consists of  two pieces made from clay, mixed with charcoal flour

and rock flour and then placed on a wooden stand

Grafting two pieces of the casting mould using a layer of clay

To cast a plough, it requires about 7kg of pig iron

Pouring the melted pig-iron into the mould

After three minutes, the plough can be taken out of the mould

At the market, each plough is sold for VND350,000

Thank to the special plough, Mong ethnic people can cultivate on the Dong Van Karst