As many as 500 soldiers in Mongkol Borei district are helping to harvest over 20ha of rice in Rahat Teuk commune after flooding from the Bavel river, in Battambang.
Mongkol Borey district governor Roath Dasinong told The Post on Monday 20ha of rice was leftover from the dry season. He said the rice is ripe and it will be time to harvest soon.
“We pity our farmers who faced the drought during the dry season when thousands of hectares were damaged. When harvest time arrived, they are facing floods too.
“We asked the armed forces to help people harvest rice from the water so they can collect seeds to grow their next crop,” he said.
The operation started on Sunday when 8ha of rice were harvested and delivered to people’s houses. The plan on Monday is to harvest on 12ha more so rice isn’t damaged, Dasinong said.
Major General Chhun Mao, the head of the first regional command of Military Region 5 told The Post that helping to harvest rice is a military duty because the armed forces are like people’s family.
“Our job is to protect peace and give prosperity to the nation. When people are facing hardship caused by flood and harvest season is about to arrive, over 500 of our forces helped to harvest rice in the water,” he said.
Harvesting rice in water is not easy. When rice is ripe in water, it is harder, according to Rahat Teuk commune chief Kong Sopheap.
“We endure hardship to harvest rice in water which is better than letting it be damaged in water. We are facing food shortages because of drought and the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
He said the water is waist-high so machines cannot be used. It can only be done by hand.
Pok It, 56, a resident from Rahat Teuk commune, said he appreciated seeing the soldiers and local authorities help harvest rice.
“If there are no soldiers or local authorities, my rice on over a hectare of land will be damaged. The rice is not a lot but it can reduce the expense of buying new seeds,” he said.