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Local rice cultivation falls short of targets

Local rice cultivation falls short of targets

Rice cultivation during the 2013 wet season reached about 95 per cent of the government’s annual goal, according to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries this week.

At the end of August, around two months before harvest season kicks off in November, 2.3 million of the targeted 2.4 million hectares of land had rice growing on it.

Despite falling just short of government targets, Khem Chenda, administration director at the ministry, said he was happy about the results, much of which he attributed to solid rainfall throughout the wet season.

“I think that although we did not achieve 100 per cent, it is not a problem for our rice yield targets this year,” he said.

“We have noticed that farmers have changed from growing rice seeds bringing a low yield to rice seeds that increase the output.”

The ministry recently introduced 10 varieties of rice seeds for farmers to grow to obtain high yields, as part of a strategy to enhance Cambodian rice exports.

Chenda also welcomed recent advancement in farming technologies and techniques in the agricultural sector.

About 8,000 hectares of rice fields have been damaged by drought in Kampong Speu, Kampot and Svay Rieng provinces.

Flooding was less of a concern except for Banteay Meanchey province, where fields were damaged.

Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), anticipated that farmers would reach around 90 per cent of government targets.

He said this year, rice yields will be between five to 10 per cent higher than last year, and farmers still had time until mid-September to restore the land damaged by flood or drought.

Cambodia looks to export one million tonnes of rice by 2015.

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