The Ministry of Economy and Finance co-chaired a meeting with the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to plan the distribution of rice seeds to poor farmers affected by disasters while flood waters have subsided considerably.

NCDM spokesman Khun Sokha told The Post on October 8 that NCDM vice-president Lam Heng Huot co-chaired the virtual meeting organised by the finance ministry with the participation of representatives from the agriculture ministry to provide the seed for rehabilitation.

“Normally, every year after the floods subside, the finance ministry cooperates with the NCDM and relevant ministries to prepare an intervention budget package to provide rice and other crop seeds to the poor farmers affected by disasters,” he said.

“This work is done every year, and now we are planning to see which provinces have people affected by the floods to prepare and distribute the seeds,” Heng Huot said.

Since September, flash floods have inundated several provinces in northwestern Cambodia, with Banteay Meanchey being the worst hit.

According to a NCDM report, as of September 28, floods in Banteay Meanchey had affected 18,715 families in 38 communes of six districts with 1,150 families evacuated. It inundated about 25,223ha of rice fields, 301ha of other crops and affected 26 schools, nine pagodas and two health centres.

On October 9, Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Um Reatrey inspected flooded areas and the living conditions of people evacuated to higher ground. Flood waters have reduced considerably and continue to drop.

Agriculture minister Veng Sakhon said on September 7 that the ministry had prepared 2,000 tonnes of rice seeds and 25 tonnes of vegetable seeds to assist farmers affected by natural disasters.

He said in recent decades, the agricultural sector has grown significantly but also faced a number of problems, especially natural disasters such as floods, droughts, storms, infectious diseases and pests that often destroy farmers’ crops every year.

In light of this, he said Prime Minister Hun Sen has encouraged and supported the preparation of food and crop seeds for storage and intervention to assist poor farmers affected by natural disasters.

“For 2021, the government has prepared 2,000 tonnes of physical non-seasonal light rice seeds and 25 tonnes of vegetable seeds and crop seeds for intervention to help farmers affected by natural disasters,” Sakhon said.