Minister of Interior Sar Kheng delivered more than 1,000 tonnes of rice seeds to 10,210 families in Battambang province on Sunday as part of an effort to restore the agricultural sector in the wake of recent flooding.
Sar Kheng said during his visit the delivery is part of the government’s response to the flood crisis.
“During the floods, we evacuated people from flooded areas. The next steps are fixing infrastructure like roads and helping people grow crops,” he said.
Each family received 100kg of rice seeds for planting. Sar Kheng encouraged local officials to offer additional assistance like ploughing rice fields to accelerate rice and crop production as quickly as possible.
Prime Minister Hun Sen originally planned to deliver the seeds but is under quarantine for 14 days after meeting Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto, who visited Cambodia last week. Szijjarto tested positive for Covid-19 in the Thai capital Bangkok after his visit to Cambodia.
His eldest son Hun Manet, who is the deputy head of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), delivered rice seeds to 17,000 farmer families in Pursat on his behalf on Saturday.
“Samdech [Hun Sen] considers bringing food and rice seeds to people as compulsory work that cannot be delayed because it is the benefits the daily lives of people,” Manet said.
He said in the first stage of the flood, the prime minister ordered the armed forces to rescue people and protect their properties.
Besides handing out 100kg of rice seeds to each family for replanting, the government also assisted poor and vulnerable people, with each family receiving 25kg of rice, one box of noodles, a box of fish sauce, a box of soy sauce and 50,000 riel ($12).
According to a report from the National Committee for Disaster Management, floods damaged 287,961ha of rice crops and 97,029ha of other crops in 20 provinces.
Roads were also damaged, including 627km of red pebble roads and 1,685km of rural roads. Floods destroyed 49km of dams and 543km of canals.
More than 150,000 families were directly impacted and 44 people died.
Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Pursat provinces were most affected.