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Cambodia's Rice Crop Endangered

Cambodia's Rice Crop Endangered

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Irregular rainfall, a shortage of seed, and harassment

by the Khmer Rouge could keep Cambodia from cultivating as much rice as it planned

this year, the Phnom Penh government says.

The goal was to cultivate 2 million hectares of rice, but so far this season only

48,200 hectares have been sown, Tri Meng, deputy head of the SOC Ministry of Agriculture's

Agronomy Department, told the official Cambodian news agency SPK.

More than half of this year's targeted crop was wet rice, which grows from April

to July, Tri Meng said. With the growing season for wet rice now over, he predicted

that Cambodia would only be able to cultivate the same amount of rice as last year.

More than 1.77 million hectares of rice were cultivated last year out of the 1.94

million hectares planned, Tri Meng said.

Fighting in the countryside, despite the peace accord reached last October among

Cambodia's four warring factions, has taken its toll on the rice crop, Tri Meng said.

The Khmer Rouge has continued to skirmish with the Phnom Penh government in some

rice-growing provinces.

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