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Social rice field feeds Siem Reap poor

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Banteay Srei district governor Khim Finan (centre) said each hectare can yield from three to 3.5 tonnes of rice. Photo supplied

Social rice field feeds Siem Reap poor

Officials in Banteay Srei have started harvesting rice from a “social rice field” for distribution to nearly 2,000 poor families affected by Covid-19.

The harvest is the first after the rice was cultivated for nearly four months on 40ha.

Banteay Srei district governor Khim Finan told The Post on Tuesday that the rice yield is about 100 tonnes, according to officials. Each hectare can yield from three to 3.5 tonnes of rice.

“This social rice field is meant to produce rice for distribution to poor people affected by the Covid-19 crisis under the framework of Poor1 and Poor2,” Finan said.

The district governor said the cooperative rice field will provide rice to the landowners and the remaining rice will be distributed to the poor. The programme is supported by various charities.

“We get rice seeds from the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and fertiliser from charities. We have volunteers to help plant and harvest the rice,” Finan said.

He said good rice yields raised the hopes of the “social rice field” project team after nearly four months of hard work.

With the help of generous people, he said the district administration will continue to work the social rice field in the second round after harvest.

“The team will prepare to harvest rice on the 40ha of land in stages because the first planting did not coincide with the rest. But the harvest will be completed in just two weeks and then we will mill the rice and distribute it to the people,” Finan said.

Preah Dak village chief Loek Vun said villagers had voluntarily shared farmland with authorities.

“In the past, there was never community rice cultivation to help the poor like this. The people are happy to participate with the district governor. They share some of their lands and leave some for themselves,” Vun said.

Siem Reap provincial Adhoc investigator Sous Narin praised the activities of the Banteay Srei district governor. He said the project will contribute to poverty reduction in the community

“Districts in Siem Reap province have never had such activity in the past. If all 11 districts and one town in Siem Reap province act like Banteay Srei district, it can reduce poverty and make people trust the authorities,” Narin said.

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