Agricultural officials and farmers in Kampong Thom province are increasingly worried about the adverse effect that a severe drought is having on more than 200 hectares of rice crops.
Ou Bosphorn, director of the provincial agricultural department, told the Post yesterday that due to an unusually low amount of rain for this time of year, rice farmers in the high land area were experiencing a severe water shortage.
“Currently, more than 200 hectares of dry rice in Stuong district is experiencing drought,” the provincial director said.
His department is working to alleviate the problem by transferring excess water in low-lying areas, but it still was not enough to meet the needs, he added.
Meng Kong, a farmer living in Stuong district’s Chamna Leu commune, said he was most concerned about his yield.
“If there is not adequate water, the rice will decrease its yield,” he said.
Meng Kong also said that he and other farmers in Kampong Thom province were particularly susceptible to drought because they needed to harvest rice several times per year since they grow the crop commercially.
Farmers from other provinces did not need to harvest so frequently and thus were not as impacted by a water shortage, Meng Kong said.
Typically, Meng Kong gets five to seven tonnes of rice per hectare and earns between $100 and $200 per tonne.
With the drought, however, he worried that his yields this season would be “much less”.
Nuon Serei of Peam Bang commune echoed Meng Kong’s concerns.
He said he is usually able to insulate himself from most droughts because he has an agreement with the owner of a local reservoir by which he receives water during the dry season.
This year, however, he said that there was so little rain that even the reservoir was dried up.
“With no rain, we really have a great loss this year,” he lamented.