Yields for this year’s dry-season crops, especially rice, increased significantly in the first quarter of 2021, though exports decreased compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
In a report released on April 5, the ministry said over 649,000ha of land have been planted with dry-season rice. More than 645,000ha were ploughed by machinery while 4,000 used cattle.
Growing rice seeds and sowing rice was achieved as per plan and had exceeded last year’s goal with over 30,000ha for the same period. More than 535,000ha of dry-season rice was harvested, producing over two million tonnes of paddy. More than 130,000ha had been planted with a variety of crops – an increase of nearly 60,000ha.
This achievement, the ministry said, was attributed to initiatives that have boosted the production of crops, raising animals and aquaculture. The measures were laid out and implemented to assist farmers.
“Inspections on fertilisers, pesticides and agricultural work were achieved with good cooperation from relevant ministries and institutions, the sub-national administrations, development partners and agricultural communities in the spirit of responsibility,” the ministry said.
Agriculture minister Veng Sakhon said in the report that despite the good results, the ministry had still continued initiatives to increase agricultural cultivation during the 2021 dry season to produce food in response to the risk of Covid-19.
“I continue to urge and train farmers in cultivation techniques and be prepared for a possible disaster, the containment of disease or vermin destroying crops,” he said.
The report said that in the first quarter of this year, Cambodia exported more than 150,000 tonnes of milled rice to 41 countries – a decrease of over 33 per cent from over 230,000 tonnes over the same period last year.
Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community director Theng Savoeun said farmers had planted dry season rice early this year. They achieved a good result because there was enough rainfall for cultivation.
Savoeun said the decrease in exports was due to the Covid-19 crisis. He urged the government to find markets for farmers and support them by providing incentives to continue farming.
“Cambodia should care about the domestic market, especially for fish, meat, vegetables and fruit. If the people could plant and supply them on their own, imports from neighbouring countries would decrease. If there is still no market, the state has to ensure storage of products to keep them longer,” he said.