Siem Reap and Battambang provincial officials have expressed concerns that another week without rainfall will damage more than 65,000ha of paddy fields.
Siem Reap provincial Department of Agriculture director Tea Kimsoth told The Post on Tuesday that 4,800ha of paddy fields in Srei Snam, Kralanh and Puok districts are vulnerable.
“The important thing is that they have no irrigation system and some reservoirs have no water.”
Meanwhile, Battambang provincial Department of Agriculture director Chhim Vichara said 60,500ha of paddy fields have suffered drought in seven districts – Thma Koul, Bavel, Rukhak Kiri, Sangke, Ek Phnom, Kors Kralor and Moung Russey.
“In the last few days, rain fell in Sangke district and provided relief to some 20,000ha. However, it did not rain everywhere. What little rain there was will allow the paddy to survive for another week. We hope that it will rain after that,” said Vichara.
He said the authorities will assess any damages and report their findings to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) at the provincial and national levels for restoration actions.
NCDM spokesman Keo Vy told The Post on Tuesday that according to figures he received, more than 60,000ha of rice fields were affected by drought.
However, he said the fields will not be further damaged as the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has forecasted that regular rains in vulnerable areas will soon begin.
“According to the weather forecast, it will rain from now on. Rains began in the northwest and northern plateau areas two days ago [Sunday]. I’d like to state that there will be no further damages,” said Vy.
Battambang is the province most affected by drought as it lacks adequate water supply, he said, adding that the current effects of the drought will lower the paddy fields’ yields.
Neither Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology spokesman Chan Yutha nor General Department of Agriculture director-general Ngin Chhay could be reached for comment.
In the first six months of this year, rice was grown on more than 12 million hectares, which is more than 49 per cent of the 25 million hectare target, said a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report.