The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology and provincial officials are working together to pump water into nearly 4,000ha of rice fields in Prey Veng province that have been effected by drought.
Ministry undersecretary of state Khun Sakhoeun told The Post that officials had visited the five affected communes in Svay Antor district, and had intervened by pumping water into 3,887ha of rice fields, owned by nearly 2,000 families.
“At the request of the farmers, w e assessed the situation and intervened. The rice has been without water for three days, but is not yet damaged. As it is the dry season, and the fields are far from water supplies, we need to help the farmers, he said.
He said the intervention, although a little slow, will save the rice in time. “The operation to cover all of the fields may take several days as the pump works for just eight hours per day,” he said.
“This is the first time we have pumped water to these fields, but if they require more, we will return a second or even third time. The farmers will harvest a good yield of rice”, he said, adding that officials would also be prepared to help any other districts that were affected by water shortages.
He said the ministry was prepared to take all possible measures to ensure that farmers’ work was not in vain.
French NGO GRET Agricultural Technician Pat Sovann said the timely intervention was an effective way to support those who grow rice during the dry season.
“This is a good emergency step that helps in time people who lack water for farming,” he said.
He urged officials and farmers to discuss realistic rice field volumes ahead of the dry season to avoid similar scenarios in the future.
“The government is building more irrigation systems, so I think the next step will be for them to ensure that the water is reaching the farmers’ fields. Farmers themselves should plan ahead and ensure that their cultivation is in proportion to the available water supply,” he added.