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Drought hits rice yields in Kampong Cham, Oddar Meanchey

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A machine pumping water into rice fields in Oddar Meanchey province’s Chong Kal district on Sunday. Water Resources Ministry

Drought hits rice yields in Kampong Cham, Oddar Meanchey

Drought in four districts in Kampong Cham province in June and July affected 2,600ha, causing a drop in rice yields by 30 to 40 per cent, according to provincial governor Un Chenda.

Chenda told The Post on August 12 that there was an extended drought that affected rice plantations in Batheay, Prey Chhor, Cheung Prey and Stung Trang districts. The impact was compounded by a lack of sufficient water sources.

But he said rainfall from the second weekend of July helped the rice to grow. Although there was water in the fields, the impact of the drought will still affect yields, he said.

“Typhoons and low pressure systems in the region have caused heavy rainfall across the country, resulting in better yields for rice growers. However, these farmers claim their yields have dropped compared to other rice farmers’,” he said.

Chenda has asked relevant officials to work with local authorities to assist the farmers with technical advice in using fertilisers and pesticides to increase yields for rice and other crops. But the measures must be safe for consumers.

Sim Tha Virak, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told The Post that Kampong Cham had planned to cultivate 86,500ha of rice this year, but farmers have already planted nearly 90,000ha, an excess of 3,500ha.

Om Vibol, director of the provincial Department of Water Resources and Meteorology, told The Post that cultivation in these four districts depends on rainfall, and water from the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. Drought often occurs when crops are planted at the beginning of the rainy season when there is not enough water.

“Farmers were advised to wait until August to plant crops, which usually has good regular rainfall for all types of crops, especially rice. But they want two crops a season, one at the beginning of the rainy season then a medium rice crop starting from the end of July to October,” he said.

Drought also hit Oddar Meanchey province, affecting rice crops in Kork Pong and Sre Prang villages of Chongkal district’s Choeung Tien commune, totalling more than 300ha.

Provincial water resources department director Nen Kuon said that last week two machines were sent to the area to pump water into the rice fields.

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