Officials in Siem Reap province’s Banteay Srei district have distributed over 50 tonnes of milled rice to nearly 2,700 impoverished and vulnerable households under the ‘social rice field’ programme in partnership with local farmers.
District governor Khim Finan told The Post that the rice was distributed to IDPoor card holders across the district from the harvest of 40ha of rice fields which the administration had leased from 88 households in Preah Dak commune.
“The ‘social rice field’ programme has received support including seeds, expenses and volunteer labour from the agriculture department, philanthropists and volunteers from the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia,” he said.
According to Finan, the programme has yielded 84 tonnes of milled rice which has been gradually distributed to rice field owners, poor households and those affected by floods. The recent handouts brought total distribution to 2,668 households, each receiving 20kg.
Finan said the administration would continue the project this year because it had been a success last year. After paying field owners three or four 50kg sacks of rice per family depending on the size of the land, more than 50 tonnes remained for distribution to poor households.
Siem Reap provincial governor Tea Seiha said last week at the rice distribution ceremony that many people had been affected by last year’s disasters, including the floods and Covid-19. Compounding local people’s hardships was the precipitous decline in tourism, all of which impacted poor families most severely.
Recognising this problem, district officials had cooperated with philanthropists, partner organisations and the public to realise the ‘social rice field’ programme and offer support for poor people in the area. He lauded the programme as a good model which helped people when they were in great need of assistance.
“The distribution of rice from the ‘social rice field’ to IDPoor households throughout Banteay Srei district mitigates the difficulties caused by the spread of Covid-19. We acknowledge that poor people have had to face even greater difficulties,” Seiha said.