Local agriculture departments in four provinces will distribute rice seeds to farmers in order to offset damage done by a recent lack of water supply in some areas.
During visits to the provinces of Siem Reap, Pursat, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey over the weekend, Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon announced the rice seed distribution.
Mr Sakhon visited the provinces to monitor how a lack of water has affected rice farmers. He noted that national and sub-national agriculture departments must prepare seeds to be distributed to farmers in severely-hit areas.
“Officials shall inspect seeds stocked in warehouses so they can be distributed to the people after the rain and harvest, collect figures regarding affected areas and assess damages throughout the country,” he said. “Report to the government because it is aware and ready to take immediate action.”
Mr Sakhon said officials should visit all affected areas and find ways to solve problems quickly and efficiently, such as by providing oil for water pumps in case of water shortage and providing seeds in areas hit by shortages of water.
According to a report by the Siem Reap agriculture department, hot and dry weather has affected 500 hectares of rice paddy in the districts of Kralanh, Srei Snam, Puok and Sout Nikom.
Regarding other parts of the country affected by the weather, Mr Sakhon said more than 17,000 hectares of rice paddy in Banteay Meanchey’s Preah Netr Preah district were affected by drought.
He noted that tens thousands of hectares of rice paddy in Battambang and Pursat provinces have also been affected due to a lack of water.
“Some water sources and main canals have dried, which makes it difficult to pump water in order to save the rice,” Mr Sakhon said.
Ouk Mon, chief of Romlech commune in Pursat’s Bakan district, said 300 hectares of rice paddy are suffering from drought due to a lack of rain.
Mr Mon said there has been rain over the past few days, but not enough to save rice paddies.
“We are waiting for big rains to come to save the crops of farmers,” he said. “But over the past few days, we have had little rain – not enough to save our rice.”
Mr Mon added that there are water sources in his commune, but the canals have mostly dried.
“Local authorities are pumping water from elsewhere to save the crops of farmers,” he said. “We hope that big rain will come next week.”
“Now our crops are not all damaged, but if we can’t prevent further damage, then the local authority will come to collect data and report to the national and sub-national agriculture departments so we can have seeds provided to farmers,” Mr Mon said.