Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM urges farmers to diversify crops amid shortage of water

PM urges farmers to diversify crops amid shortage of water

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Farmers grow rice in a field in Kampong Speu province. Prime Minister Hun Sen urges farmers to switch to crops resilient to a shortage of water, such as sugar cane, to shield themselves from price drops and fluctuating yields during the dry season. TANG CHHIN SOTHY/afp

PM urges farmers to diversify crops amid shortage of water

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday called for farmers to diversify beyond rice during the dry season, amid meteorologists’ warnings that a decline in water levels due to drought will adversely impact output and prices.

The prime minister urged farmers to switch to crops resilient to a shortage of water, such as sugarcane, to shield themselves from price drops and fluctuating yields during the dry season.

“According to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, we are approaching the harvests at the end of the rainy season. So far, we have harvested two million hectares of paddy fields out of a total of 2.7 million hectares.

“I hope that rice yields in the rainy season will not be affected by a shortage of water. However, paddy fields will face a shortage of water during the dry season – that’s why I issued a directive to farmers last week to grow rice only once during the dry season and then switch to another crop,” Hun Sen said.

In a statement released last week, the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) said the poor condition of paddy fields due to water shortages in some areas had affected prices.

It added that certain parts of Pursat province that produced phkma malis (jasmine) and somali rice had grown tough grains lacking aroma “that consumers cannot accept”.

Rice crops in Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap provinces, the statement said, had also struggled due to poor quality paddies and disease.

However, some areas in Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampot and Kandal provinces yielded quality crops that demanded high prices.

CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng told The Post on Wednesday that the drop in quality was due to drought.

“The price of the good quality crops – phkma malis and phka romduol – is the same as last year, around 1,200 riel ($0.30) per kilogramme, while sen kra op rice costs 1,000 riel ($0.24).

“Rice millers did not want to lower the price of rice, but [they had no choice] because of the poor quality of the crop,” Yeng said.

Hun Sen said that while the government had called on millers not to lower the price of rice, it did not set prices as Cambodia is a free-market economy.

The prime minister advised farmers in areas suffering from water shortages to switch from rice to crops that would ensure better yields and bring higher prices.

A Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report showed that in the first 11 months of this year, rice exports to the international market totalled 514,149 tonnes – an increase of 3.4 per cent on the same period last year.

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,