Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakon encouraged farmers to boost their rainy season rice growing this year as the rainy season started early and the volume of rain has been more than in recent years.
Sakon said on June 9 that as of June 8 the rice planting for rainy season had reached 762,542ha or 29.11 per cent of the total planned 2,619,500ha, which is 650,000ha less than last year.
The slow start to rice growing could affect food security and the government’s policies on rice and milled-rice exports later this year.
The three provinces off to the slowest starts for rainy season rice cultivation are Kampong Thom at 27 per cent of planned cultivation, Takeo at 43 per cent under cultivation and Siem Reap with just 11 per cent.
Sakon instructed all capital and provincial agriculture departments to work with relevant departments in each province and the local authorities to verify the percentage of rice planted.
“Find out the main problems delaying the planting of rice and put in place urgent measures to solve these problem that are blocking progress of rice cultivation in each area,” he said.
He said that the General Department of Agriculture has to work with all agriculture departments and local authorities to speed up the planting of crops in the areas where it’s getting off to a late start and they should spread modern techniques of rice cultivation according to the agro-ecosystem for rice.
The general department was also told to be ready to intervene by preparing machinery like tractors to help plow farmer’s rice fields and pumps to drain the water out of flooded fields, especially for poorer families.
Provincial agriculture departments and local authorities also must work together to assess the level of damage to rice caused by flooding and make requests to the Secretariat of Cambodian Food Reserve System under the Ministry of Economy and Finance to get reserve rice seeds in time for replanting those fields.