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Paddy fields in Battambang rescued from drought

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20,000ha of paddy fields in Battambang’s Sangke district faced drought. Supplied

Paddy fields in Battambang rescued from drought

Officials said that the nearly 20,000ha of paddy fields in Battambang’s Sangke district that faced drought have been rescued, with parts of the province receiving some rain recently.

Chhim Vichara, the director of the provincial agricultural department, said on Tuesday that although some 18,000ha of paddy fields in Sangke district had dried up last week, they had not died.

The Sangke district paddy fields were rescued in time, and while other districts also lacked water, his department had not announced a drought alert, Vichara said.

“This happened last week but only affected paddy fields in Sangke district. Our team is getting water into the fields and it rained over the past few days, so there is no problem,” he said.

Long Phalkun, the director of the Battambang provincial Department of Water Resources and Meteorology, said none of the rice paddies had died from drought after water was released into them.

“We released water from the main canals into the paddy fields one after another. The situation is okay now,” Phalkun said.

Provincial governor Nguon Ratanak said on Tuesday that paddy in the Sangke district fields had withered slightly, but there had been no reports of adverse effects after authorities released water into them and it had rained.

“There have been showers. There is not a lot of water in the fields but the paddy has not died. In short, paddy fields have dried up but there is no drought. Rice has withered but not died,” Ratanak said.

A farmer, 60-year-old Oeun Suy from Moung Russey district’s Kakoh commune in Battambang province, told the local media Apsara News Network (ANN) that his family farmed 5ha of paddy fields. These normally produced good yields as it had rained enough in previous years.

However, he said he and other farmers were experiencing drought this year, and that his commune had seen only sporadic rain for months. If this continued, he said, thousands of hectares of paddy fields were at risk.

“If the drought continues until early July, it is clear that rice plants will die because now the only irrigation canal is without water,” Suy told ANN.

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