Cambodia. Rice Harvest Largely Escapes Flood Damage

19.10.2016

The damage to the country’s rice crops from the recent heavy rains is likely to be small, according to provincial officials, as the Agriculture Ministry stressed that flood damage to rice crops was under control.
 
As the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology continue to warn of flooding this week, nationwide officials yesterday were upbeat about the expected size of this year’s rice harvest, and stressed that flood damage to crops had been minimal.
 
Banteay Meanchey provincial agriculture department head Taing Vannaset said that only 120 hectares of rice fields in Phnom Srok district had been affected by flooding.
 
“The flood has hit the area for 10 days and rice plants were damaged by the flooding,” Mr. Vannaset said. “Authorities cannot save the flooded rice plants because they are completely destroyed.”

Flooding in the district happens each rainy season, he said, due to the farmers planting on low-ground near a lake, and the damage was therefore to be expected.
 
Vy Samnang, Kampong Speu provincial governor said that a similar area of rice fields had been damaged in the past week.
 
“Only 140 hectares of rice fields have been damaged in Kong Pisei district due to flooding in the last few days,” Mr. Samnang said. “The authorities are ready to help farmers who lost their rice crop in the floods by providing them with new crops and other assistance.”
 
He, too, was optimistic that rice crops would be higher than expected for the year.
 
Chan Sophal, Battambang provincial governor, said that his important rice-producing province had escaped flood damage.
 
“In the province as a whole this year, rice fields have not been confirmed hit by any flooding,” he said, adding that the harvest was actually on track to be above predictions.
 
“We have prepared the irrigation system well to help farmers as you could see in the beginning of rice cultivation. Farmers have surplus paddy rice and have flooded the market with it.”
 
Mak Thoeun, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture’s agriculture department, said that though there had been reports of damage, the situation appeared to be improving.
 
“The rice plants will be damaged if the fields are flooded for over a week,” Mr. Thoeun said. “As I have seen the flood situation in some provinces is getting better now, so the damage to rice plants is expected to be only mild.”

Despite this, he said that the ministry had prepared reserve food and crops for any farmers affected by flooding.
 
Last year, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Palin, Pursat, Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kep, and Kampot provinces all suffered flooding that damaged crops, houses and infrastructure.
 
While damage to rice crops may have been minimal so far this year, the heavy rains over the past week have been damaging.
 
The heavy rain in Kampong Speu province caused the sides of the Ou Treng reservoir to burst on Sunday, releasing eight million cubic meters of water. Local authorities predicted that some 300 hectares of rice fields might be affected, and 126 families had to be evacuated after their houses were damaged. Elsewhere in the province on Sunday, rains were blamed for damage to two kilometers of National Road 4.


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