Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Drought improves in B’bang; concerns remain

Drought improves in B’bang; concerns remain

Drought improves in B’bang; concerns remain

Despite improving drought-like conditions in Battambang province, farmers and rice millers alike are still concerned about yield and quality levels of rice in one of the country's leading rice-producing regions.

In last month’s report on the drought situation from the Agriculture Ministry, Battambang, along with Banteay Meanchey, accounted for around two-thirds of drought-affected areas, totalling 124,300 hectares out of 182,870 hectares of affected rice plants.

However, Chhim Vichra, director of the Provincial Agriculture Department in Battambang, said the province had seen some rain in the last few days and that the situation was improving.

“If the rain continues for the next few months, I think it will be better. It’s difficult to help the areas that are far from the main source of water if there is no rain.”

The impacted area dropped from 56,780 hectares in Battambang last month to 37,420 hectares as of Tuesday, according to Vichra, who added that some areas were still not seeing much rain.

Kann Kunthy, CEO of rice miller Brico in Battambang, said a drought-like situation could affect the quality of the rice being produced, and that shortages will lead to higher prices – an issue Cambodia is already having to deal with in the international market.

“The higher price doesn’t mean the farmer gets more benefits, because they get less income as they are spending more on water pumps and pesticides,” Kunthy said.

“Millers also get impacted by low-quality rice because it is difficult to sell.”

Phan Saing, a 54-year-old farmer in Battambang province’s Borel district, said that his 10-hectare rice field did not have water for a month and 50 per cent of his rice field was damaged, given that his farm is away from any irrigation system.

“We do not have any water system, even a canal or pond,” he said This year’s figures mark a sharp uptick from the 116,129 hectares hurt by a lack of rain during the 2014 wet season.

In Pursat – the third worst affected province – Lay Viseth, director of Pursat’s Agriculture Department, said the province was still facing issues of drought.

“We have two irrigation systems. It helps some areas but they cannot reach so much because we lack the source of water,” Viseth said.

The Ministry of Agriculture said yesterday that while the drought situation hasn’t changed much from the last report, released on August 26, an updated national report on the current situation is yet to be released.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release