Drought poses threat to rice crop in Banteay Meanchey

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Residents pump water for irrigation in Banteay Meanchey province. Faceboook

More than 1,300ha of paddy in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district has been damaged and another 13,000ha affected by a shortage of irrigation water, district governor Roth Da Sinong said on Wednesday.

Da Sinong told The Post that drought has caused some water sources to dry up, leaving many families across the district facing a shortage of clean water. Rice fields in Soeu, Chamnoam and Bot Trang communes, he said, have been wiped out.

“I checked the situation on Tuesday and the 13,000ha of winter rice could be destroyed in the next week if it does not rain,” he said.

He said Banteay Meanchey provincial authorities are collaborating with the Battambang provincial authority to pump water from the Bavel Dam in Battambang province to rice fields facing shortages.

Da Sinong said water pumped from other areas should go to the people, not rice farmers.

“Pumping water from other areas at this time should support only the daily life of the people. It’s not to irrigate rice fields because many of our families are short of clean water,” he said.

Although some areas are facing water shortages for irrigation, rainy season rice cultivation in the province has seen rapid growth.

Farmers have cultivated 252,320ha of rice, equal to 96 per cent of the cultivation plan’s 270,000ha as of Thursday, said Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Agriculture director Pang Vannaseth.

In one Mongkol Borei district, he said, farmers have cultivated more than 50,000ha of rice while the area faced water shortages.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology is forecasting medium to strong rains in the country from July 4 to 7.

The national wet season rice crop reached almost 1.8 million hectares, equivalent to 69.24 per cent of the 2.5 million hectare plan.

Export of agriculture products has increased more than four million tonnes, according to a report on the cultivation of rainy season rice obtained by The Post on Wednesday.