Large swathes of rice fields in northwest Cambodia that were affected by recent droughts have now been salvaged, officials said yesterday.
Chan Youttha, Water Resource Ministry spokesman, said most affected rice fields in northwest Cambodia, including Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Oddar Meanchey, Pursat, and Pailin provinces, have been salvaged after the Ministry of Water Resources diverted water from Bavel river to Kamping Puoy reservoir, which serves most of the provinces.
He added that many provinces have also received rain fall in the last four days, which has also helped to improve the situation.
“Effective intervention by relevant ministries in tackling the issue as well as an increase in water flow, including to irrigation canals, have improved the situation,” Mr Youttha said. “Most paddy fields have become greener.”
More than 20,000 hectares of rice fields in Battambang province have been salvaged from 60,000 hectares that were affected.
Mr Youttha noted that several factors contributed to the challenges farmers faced, including the recent reconstruction of Kamping Puoy reservoir, farmers not adhering to a crop calendar and climate change.
He said Kamping Puoy reservoir was under renovation last month and could not store water. He added that some farmers also did not follow a crop scheduling guidance, causing them to face difficulties such as water shortages due to mismatched seasons.
Pang Vannaseth, Banteay Meanchey agriculture department spokesman, yesterday said that 50,000 hectares across the provice were affected by drought and that 10,000 hectares of rice fields were damaged.
Mr Vannaseth noted rain has begun to fall in the last few days and some rice fields have become greener.
“In some areas, we are pumping in water to save the rice crops, while in others, we have been able to find new sources of water,” he said. “Some areas do not have nearby water sources and will have to wait for rain.”
Mr Vannaseth added that provincial Governor Oum Reatrey has donated 500 litres of diesel oil designated for water pump machines covering 100 hectares of rice field in Mongkul Borey district.
He added that around this time last year, the province simultaneously experienced floods and drought. However, he noted that this year the province is only battling drought.
Keo Vy, National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman, citing a recent report, said more than 150,000 hectares of rice paddy across the Kingdom have been affected by a series of droughts.