Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM suggests establishment of emergency seed supplies

PM suggests establishment of emergency seed supplies

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Members of more than 10,000 farming households in Battambang province receive rice seeds and food aid from Prime Minister Hun Sen on October 24. SPM

PM suggests establishment of emergency seed supplies

Prime Minister Hun Sen has told Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina to devise plans for guaranteeing a steady supply of high-quality seeds of the many varieties that the government currently stockpiles.

Hun Sen noted that if the government’s stocks were depleted by heavy flood damage, for example, it would be forced to buy fresh stocks on the open market. By establishing a supply of its own, the government could guarantee the purity and quality of the seeds it issued to the victims of natural disasters.

“I remind the minister that we should come up with methods of producing our own high-quality rice seeds. We should attempt to secure our own supply so that we are not dependent on the open market, should our stocks decline,” he said.

The premier made the suggestions on October 24 while meeting with 10,000 flood-afflicted farming households in Battambang province, where he also provided them with several varieties of seed and emergency food supplies.

He suggested that Tina choose any area with enough water sources and then supply the local farmers with the kinds of rice seeds that will grow well there. Once it has grown, the government will purchase some of it to stockpile.

“We need to do so to ensure that we have the possibility of supplying existing varieties of rice from each area. Certain varieties of rice aren’t native to Battambang, so we have taken them from other provinces. What we need to do is make sure that we have enough stored for each province. For example, how many tonnes in Battambang do we need to stockpile?” he said.

“If we can establish a plantation of 1,000ha or so, with probably about 500 households producing rice for us, we should be able to store enough. If not, we could appeal to the private sector, and perhaps sign contracts for them to supply us,” he added.

He said good cultivation yields come from planting the correct varieties of rice, noting that he had spent half of his life trying to alter people’s mindsets so they would employ the strain that was best for their circumstances.

He believed that since becoming prime minister in 1985, he had been able to change most people’s minds.

“Now the people have changed their attitudes, but the problem lies with a shortage of the specific varieties that we need. This problem is aggravated by situations like the flooding which recently occurred,” he said.

“We have worked hard to take varieties of rice from this or that place and distribute them to the farmers of Battambang. But we need to devise better ways of ensuring reliable stocks,” he said.

Battambang governor Sok Lou said that since September 28, flooding caused by torrential rains has affected 502 villages in 91 communes of 14 towns and districts in the province. Nearly 30,000 households had been affected, over 1,000 of which had been evacuated to high ground.

He added that the floods had damaged over 20,000ha of rice fields and affected over 30,000ha of other cash crops.

Meeting with farmers on October 23, Ngin Chhay, head of the agriculture ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture, suggested that the large quantities of seed and pesticides being used were responsible for the rising cost of rice production in Anlong Run commune of Battambang province’s Thma Koul district.

While inspecting flood-damaged fields, he asked farmers about the production costs, and learnt that a plague of red snails had resulted in a surge in the amount of pesticide the farmers were employing.

Some of the farmers explained that because of the snail infestation, they were forced to use a lot of varieties of rice to offset the destruction. As a result, they spend a lot of money on fertilisers.

Chhay recommended modern techniques which would reduce their costs and improve their profit margins.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,