Floods and a plague of crickets have left about 100 hectares of rice crops destroyed in Tbong Khmum province after a week of heavy rains, local farmers and officials said yesterday.
Khiev Manh, 46, said his 2-hectare rice plantation in Ponhea Krek district’s Kandorl Chrum commune had been completely destroyed.
“My rice plantation was growing well, when the mole crickets suddenly appeared and damaged about half of the plantation. I expected that I could harvest the rest in early August but unfortunately the flood destroyed it completely,” he said.
Other farmers said they had experienced the same problems. Pov Ry, 56, another rice farmer in Kandorl Chrum, said 16 hectares of rice that he had sowed had been destroyed, and that most farmers were now trying to salvage what they could.
“We have now changed methods to traditional rice planting [of seedlings individually] since my field is small enough,” Ry said.
Heng Piseth, head of the Provincial Agricultural Department, said about 100 hectares were left damaged, and that this was the province’s first mole cricket outbreak that destroyed rice fields.
Piseth said experts instructed people to use bug zappers at night to catch the crickets while also being prepared to use more manual labour.
“The farmers should be ready to cultivate the rice seedling plantations individually, if future rain is not favorable,” Piseth said.