Water resources and agriculture specialists are working together with the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Administration to save more than 2,000ha of rice fields in Mongkol Borei district which had been affected by floods in the early rainy season.
Pang Vannaset – director of the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – told The Post on May 17 that a series of rains last week caused flooding and affected 2,365ha of paddy fields in three communes of Mongkol Borei district – 965ha in Rahat Teuk, 600ha in O’Prasat and 800ha in Chamnoam.
“Crops may suffer damage if the rains continue for several days. Some farmers say their paddy fields have sprouted less than two weeks ago and have only grown about 12cm high from the ground,” he said.
According to Vannaseth, rice plants that are more than a month old can withstand flooding for seven to 10 days after the water recedes, and sometimes grow and return yields as high as normal rice. If they are less than three weeks old and flooded beyond their tops, they are vulnerable to damage.
He said that data from the early rainy season showed that farmers have been heavily involved in rice cultivation. According to data obtained from the agriculture department, as of May 17, 35 per cent of the planned 252,300ha had been cultivated.
Vannaseth called on farmers to pay attention to their rice fields by removing weeds and using pumps to remove excess water.
Rahat Teuk commune chief Kong Sopheap told The Post that her family had also sown rice on more than 2ha. Her rice was not inundated, as her fields were on the hillside.
“In my commune, up to 965ha of paddy fields were affected by the floods. Some was completely covered, while some was okay. We all have the same concerns because this rice does not grow on the water like heavy flooded or seasonal rice,” she said.
Water resource department deputy director Lay Puthy told The Post that the water level in the farmers’ rice field in the three communes has decreased.
“Although the rain is continuing, the water in the fields of Chamnoam, Rohat Teuk and O’Prasat communes began to recede after we opened three canals on May 15. Water is already flowing into the Tonle Sap Lake, and will return to normal if there is no rain in the next two or three days,” he said.