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Rice Crop Damaged by Floods

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
A Cambodian farmer in a rice field. Though floods this year have damaged rice fields, the destruction Though floods this year have damaged rice fields, the destruction

At least 17,571 hectares of rice fields were affected by the recent floods – of which about 3,186 hectares were severely damaged, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) yesterday, which urged all provincial agriculture departments to immediately evaluate the affects from the floods and make amends to ensure food safety.
 
The MAFF issued the circular yesterday on the restoration of crop damage during the rainy season and reported that the current rice-growing season has utilized nearly 2.6 million hectares, exceeding the ministry’s target of about 2.5 million hectares earlier this year.
 
“Although the drought happened from mid-July until early September, it was not severe,” said the circular. “In the short term, natural climatic episodes can happen at any time and cannot be foreseen, especially floods.
 
“For food safety sustainability and to achieve the rice production and export goals, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries would like to inform all concerned technical departments and provincial agricultural departments to manage and control the farming situation and evaluate affected areas for rehabilitation.”
 
According to data from the agriculture department in Battambang province received by Khmer Times yesterday, rice has been cultivated on some 290,296 hectares. About 10,730 hectares were affected by the drought and recent flooding, with the drought causing far more damage.
 
Heng Sith, director of the agriculture department’s statistics office, told Khmer Times yesterday that the department has been keeping an eye on the impact of natural disasters and kept farmers well informed about prevention.
 
“The floods haven’t had much impact. Most of the rice fields are affected by drought but not many by flooding,” Mr. Sith said. “Our officials here always observe the vulnerable areas and work closely with relevant authorities and ministries to measure the effects of natural disasters that can affect our farming.”
 
Banteay Meanchey provincial agriculture department head Taing Vannaset told Khmer Times last week that only 120 hectares of rice fields in Phnom Srok district had been affected by flooding while Kampong Speu provincial governor Vy Samnang also said only a small area of rice fields had been damaged by the floods caused by heavy rain earlier this month.
 
 “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.”
 
The National Committee of Disaster Management reported late last week that at least 18 provinces have suffered flood damage after heavy rain fell across much of the country while the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology in its most recent weather forecast last week, said 22 provinces as well as Phnom Penh were experiencing heavy rainfall.
 
Rain is expected to continue in Phnom Penh and Oddar Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Siem Reap, Pursat, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Stung Treng, Kratie, Kampong Chhnang, Pailin, Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kandal, Kampong Speu, Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kep and Takeo provinces.
 
The MAFF also called on concerned provincial agricultural departments and technical teams to seek locations that can serve as seeding areas for when it distributes seed to the farmers once the floodwaters recede in the upcoming month.

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