Prime Minister Hun Sen on October 23 delivered more than 500 tonnes of rice seeds to more than 5,000 households affected by floods in Banteay Meanchey province, and asked agriculture specialists to provide technical instruction to farmers, to ensure that their harvests are as successful as possible.

This is the latest batch of the thousands of tonnes of rice seeds recently distributed by the government to farmers affected by flooding.

Speaking at the handover ceremony in Banteay Meanchey, Hun Sen noted that Tina had inspected afflicted fields himself in several provinces and had also distributed rice seeds to farmers.

He said Tina had informed him that the rice seeds given to farmers had grown well, but he had discovered that some fields had been sown with too many seeds, which was an indicator that farmers would benefit from instruction by experts.

“Some rice fields are just 1ha, which means they need just 50kg of seed. Some farmers had used up to 100kg, which is far too many. This is one part of the issue. Another aspect is the inefficient use of fertiliser.

“I hope the new agriculture minister will use this opportunity to conduct research and send technical consultants out into the field to work with our farmers. They should be able to make more efficient use of seeds and fertiliser. This way, their incomes should grow,” he said.

As of October 22, he said the government had distributed a total of 7,000 tonnes of rice seeds. They had been reserved for farmers in case of natural disasters and paid for with the national budget.

“I’m sure people are aware that the government is always prepared to assist with financial intervention in cases of flood or drought,” he said.

Hun Sen added that he had reserved 100 tonnes of milled rice and $100,000 to distribute to other affected areas.

Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Um Reatrey said that in the month from September 20 to October 20, eight district-level localities had been affected: Sisophon and Poipet towns, and Mongkol Borei, Phnom Srok, Preah Netr Preah, O’Chrov, Thma Puok and Malai districts.

He noted that more than 10,000 households had been affected, with 30,000ha of rice and 20,000ha of other crops inundated. The flooding killed four people and nearly 3,000 head of cattle.

Ngin Chhay, head of the agriculture ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture, met with farmers to assess their productivity. He said his evaluation of farmers’ expenses will lead to a reduction in unnecessary expenditure, which should improve their profit margins. He also shared some of his expertise on the use of fertilisers and pesticide.