A ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report said the Kingdom cultivated over 2.3 million hectares of rice during this year’s rainy season, but Minister Veng Sakhon expressed concern over the abnormal weather.
The ministry’s report on crop cultivation and agricultural exports was posted on Sakhon’s Facebook page on Monday.
It said rice was grown on 2,326,910ha of land, of which 2,137,758ha had been successfully harvested.
More than 600,000ha was planted with short-term rice while medium-term rice was grown on approximately one million hectares and some 400,000ha cultivated with long-term rice.
Long-term, unmilled rice is a crop grown in deep water or lowland rice fields and can be grown year-round.
Medium-term rice is grown in medium-depth water and is grown for six months of the year.
Short-term rice, mostly cultivated in small fields which require little water, is grown because it can be harvested usually after just about three months.
In the report, the minister said the figures for agricultural exports were calculated from the beginning of the year, whereas rice cultivation was calculated from the beginning of the rainy season.
As well as the rice crops, corn, sweet potatoes, all kinds of vegetables, sugar cane and green beans were grown on 44,003ha while short-term industrialised crop cultivation took place on more than 700,000ha.
Some 2,449,945.19 tonnes of milled rice, sweet potatoes, cashew nuts, corn, soya beans, bananas, mangoes, pepper, vegetables and various other crops were exported this year, the report said.
Cambodia exported agricultural produce to 20 countries, including China, Thailand, Vietnam, France, South Korea, the UK and India.
Sakhon said on Monday that the weather this year had been highly abnormal.
A Battambang provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report released on Monday said that despite seeing scattered showers in Battambang town and some districts, several communes in Moung Russey district had experienced insufficient rainfall and low humidity, causing problems for rice farmers.
The Post could not reach ministry spokesman Srey Vuthy for comment on Tuesday.
Tong Chan Theang, the executive director of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture, said rice cultivation was at a normal level but farmers faced challenges such as drought in some areas and flooding in others.
“I haven’t studied the statistics in the report but generally, in my observation, in rural areas, there has been considerable rainfall and farmers are beginning to grow crops such as sweet potatoes.
“There is a lot of cultivation in areas with enough water and some farmers were able to harvest early in the rainy season. However, some areas suffered drought while others were flooded,” she said.
Chan Theang requested the government, especially the ministry, to do whatever it could to solve the challenges facing farmers and not just put out statistics.
She expressed concern that when the harvest season arrives, prices of agricultural produce would be too low because market prices were declining. She feared that farmers could lose their livelihoods.
A ministry report on agricultural production last year said rice had been grown on 3.34 million hectares, with successful cultivation on some 2.75 million hectares. About 4.23 million tonnes of agricultural produce was exported last year.