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Drought continues to hurt rice farmers

Drought continues to hurt rice farmers

The year of the dragon is synonymous with rain, but the lack of water falling from the skies this rainy season suggests the mythical creature is not holding up its end of the bargain.

Farmers in provinces across the Kingdom are feeling the effects of drought after a month of dry weather in which an estimated 10,000 hectares of rice seedlings were destroyed and 135,000 hectares left at risk, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

A report from the ministry, dated August 15 and obtained by the Post yesterday, reveals that rice cultivation is six per cent less than it was this time last year.

It’s enough to have Ou Eth, 46, a farmer from Banteay Mean­chey’s Thma Pouk district, fearing for his future.

“I have little hope that my rice field can net me three tonnes of rice per hectare like last year, because of severe drought,” he said, adding that he has already lost two hectares of rice seedlings.

“I will find a job in Thailand for a while to get money to do dry-season rice cultivation.”

Pich Romnea, deputy director of the rice plantation department at the Agriculture Ministry, said he hoped tropical and Pacific storms would provide relief.

The ministry has rescued about 20,000 hectares of rice fields via an irrigation scheme and prepared transplants so farmers can grow rice at the end of the rainy season, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at [email protected]

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