Cambodia's total paddy rice output reached 8.4 million tonnes in 2011, up from 8.25 million tonnes last year, according an initial assessment by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Provincial MAFF officials from across the Kingdom met in Phnom Penh on Saturday, when data was collected for an early tally of the country’s rice crop.
Ngin Chhay, director of MAFF’s rice department, said the first-phase results showed an average of 2.97 tonnes to 3.1 tonnes of paddy rice per hectare, planted on 2.7 million hectares, for a total of 8.4 million tonnes.
Cambodia harvested 8.25 million tonnes of paddy in 2010, Prime Minister Hun Sen said during the 16th Government-Private Sector Forum held on November 23 in Phnom Penh.
“After the dry-season paddy rice has been harvested, we will have the final results. But in general, first report and last report are very close,” he said.
The ministry will deliver those results in April, he added. Cambodia will hold about 4 million tonnes of surplus paddy, with another 2.57 million tonnes for export, according to Ngin Chhay.
CEDAC president Dr Yang Saing Koma agreed with the ministry’s projections, saying the crops that lay outside flood-affected areas saw higher yields.
At the same time, other farmers would scramble to recover from the damage done by the floods, which would help to boost dry-season output, he said.
However, Yang Saing Koma estimated that Cambodia had been lucky because of the heavy rains seen this year, and said the country would need to focus on water management in order for the dry season harvest to reach its full potential.
“Climate is the most crucial factor for the agricultural sector in Cambodia. The best path to developing Cambodia’s agriculture is through good water management,” he said, adding that seed selection was also crucial.