Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Canal work defended




Canal work defended

Canal work defended

The Editor,

I wish to comment on the opening section of Matthew Grainger's article of 12-25

January, where he refers to a Food-for-Work project in Battambang. I also note the

letter from Mr Varghese in the following issue.

The World Food Programme certainly did provide food to villagers who rehabilitated

the canal your correspondent mentions. The project was proposed by them to WFP, which

in turn was given to the Hydrology Department for approval. They withheld their agreement

for technical reasons, but proposed an alternative route which was accepted by the

chief of the commune. This decision, involving field visits, took a matter of days

only.

Without exception all irrigation projects are discussed with and approved by this

department before any final commitment to the villagers is made.

The Cambodian Red Cross didn't "get involved" but were responsible from

the outset to organize the laborers and, as always, undertook the food distribution.

WFP's Food-for-Work projects do not have a cash component for giving to local government

personnel and the staff from Battambang's Hydrology Department have worked closely

with WFP since early 1995 without receiving a single cent or any other incentive

from WFP. This particular project, however, did include cash costs of $229 (paid

by WFP) for culvert pipes, cement, sand and stone.

The rehabilitation of this canal is part of the provincial authorities' plan to provide

water to many more hectares of land to provide better yield for wet season rice and

additional opportunities for dry season varieties, and other crops. There is still

a lot of work to be done to improve the whole system of canals, and certainly some

major structures still need to be rehabilitated to make the system more efficient.

In this particular case, an existing water gate can be adequately controlled by the

villagers by using wood in the gate, and does not need a new concrete structure as

suggested. The small canal feeds off the Primary Canal No. 1 and is used to divert

or store water to improve the yield of the rice crops planted in its vicinity. We

understand there may have been some confusion in the minds of the villagers whereby

they thought they would be able to cultivate a second (dry-season) crop of rice.

This was never the intention and is not feasible.

There are many other examples in and around Battambang and elsewhere in the country

of excellent canal rehabilitation works which have made a great difference to the

lives and livelihoods of many thousands of villagers and displaced families.

It is pity that Mr Grainger did not bother to make contact with me or our provincial

staff to get our comments before writing his article.

- Martin Fisher, WFP Regional Officer, North West Provinces.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • Passing the test: Is Cambodia’s education system failing its people?

    The Kingdom’s education system needs to grow its people but some flaws might stifle​ this growth Coming from the Khmer Rouge occupation, with the loss of many scholars and academicians and a collapsed government, the education system had to be reconstructed from scratch – one

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia