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Flood damage to rice fields mostly mitigated

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Pursat provincial authorities visit a farmer’s rice field on December 3 after rehabilitation in the wake of floods. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Flood damage to rice fields mostly mitigated

Farmers affected by flooding this rainy season have replanted more than 99 per cent of their rice fields, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The floods this year damaged nearly 200,000ha of rice fields on the outskirts of the capital and in 15 provinces: Kampot, Takeo, Kandal, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Oddar Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang and Kratie.

More than 110,000ha were a total loss and in addition to rice, other crops and some infrastructure were also affected or damaged.

Prime Minister Hun Sen had urged the relevant ministries and authorities to release thousands of tons of rice seed to the affected farmer families to replant before they missed out on this growing season entirely and also to contribute to improving food security in Cambodia.

Im Rachana, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told The Post that after receiving rice seed once the floodwaters receded from their fields, the farmers in the flood-affected capitals areas started to replant their rice, which has so far achieved 100 per cent success, except in Siem Reap province where this a lack of plowing equipment and irrigation systems.

“As of December 4, 2022, more than 63,000ha of rice have been replanted, equivalent to 99.12 per cent of the total area of 68,000ha. The capital and 15 provinces have replanted their rice completely as planned. Siem Reap is a bit slow in particular, so the province has only achieved a rate of 80 per cent,” said Rachana.

Tea Kimsoth, director of the Siem Reap provincial agriculture department, told The Post that so far, apart from Srei Snam district, the other districts in Siem Reap have replanted the rice completely.

Srei Snam district has replanted just over 6,000ha, or just over 50 per cent of the total area of 1,100ha, he said.

“The slow farming in Srei Snam district is due to the lack of plowing equipment and the lack of irrigation systems, which makes farmers who receive rice seed reluctant to replant. And they took that rice seed to the exchange to sell it or trade it with other farmers who have land next to the main canal system that have enough water,” he said.

On December 3, Pursat provincial governor Khoy Rida visited farmers in Sre Sdok commune of Kandieng district and inspected the progress of rice cultivation. He urged farmers to pay attention to maintaining their rice by weeding, watering and fertilizing it in accordance with the technical standards recommended by agricultural officials.

“We have enough water sources and a canal system to deliver water to the rice fields has been built next to the rice fields, so whether the rice can provide a good yield or not depends on our care. We need to take care of our rice so that weeds do not grow in the fields and spray pesticides to make sure that they grow well and we have to pump water into the fields so that the fields do not dry out and fertilise properly based on the guidance of agricultural officials,” he said.

Rida also expressed happiness for the farmers in Kandieng district who have worked hard to replant 100 per cent of the total land area of 1,674ha there. He noted that throughout Pursat province, rice cultivation has reached 100 per cent of the total area of 6,668ha that was damaged or affected by flooding earlier this year.


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