Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainfall relieves drought for Battambang farmers

Rainfall relieves drought for Battambang farmers

Rainfall relieves drought for Battambang farmers

Just four hundred hectares of land remains affected by drought in Battambang province, after four districts finally received rain over the past week, provincial agriculture officials said yesterday.

Cheam Chansophorn, director of the provincial department of agriculture, said that the dry area – a small proportion of the 10,000 hectares deemed at drought risk last week – was in the province’s Thma Koul district.

“Our annual goal was to cultivate 250,000 hectares of rice, and so far we’ve met 82 percent of that goal,” he said. “All the farmers are happy that they’ve received rain. Our rice could have died, but now we can complete the harvest as planned.”

The good news was tempered by reports that 1,000 hectares of rice fields spanning two districts in neighbouring Pursat province were under threat of drought.

“Five communes in Phnom Kravanh district as well as some communes in Sampov Meas district are facing drought,” Lay Piseth, director of Pursat’s provincial department of agriculture, said yesterday. He added that the department had met with affected villagers yesterday to discuss a plan of action.

“Rice cultivation in Phnom Kravanh and Sampov Meas districts is extremely behind schedule, only 20 percent of the crop has been harvested so far, which is worrying,” he said.  “Pursat province as a whole is faring better, and 64.3 percent of the provincial crop has been harvested.”

Drought is common in many provinces, including Battambang and Pursat, Oxfam’s regional communications officer Soleak Seang said yesterday. He added that drought often occurs sporadically, crippling some districts and sparing others.

“We have seen a change in the weather in recent years,” he said.  “If you ask farmers, they’ll tell you that the rain has become more unpredictable.”

This unpredictability often “hits the poorest people first and hardest,” Soleak Seang said. “Drought forces some farmers to sell off their productive assets, their land, their house, and their buffaloes, in order to pay for food.”

He added, however, that locals were “fighting back”, with some farmers switching their traditional rice cultivation techniques and using new seed varieties to fend off the effects of drought.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • New airport study set for 2019

    A feasibility study on the construction of a new airport in the Kingdom will be launched later this year, according to a Ministry of Tourism spokesman on Monday. The plan was approved last week in a meeting held by the Ministry of Economy and Finance