Right, Say Chhum, second deputy president of the National Assembly and acting Royal Ploughing Festival king, uses the Royal oxen to plough land during the annual festival on Saturday in Phnom Penh. Bottom right, Royal Ploughing Festival queen and parliament member Ke Chanmony is carried by Royal Palace officials. Below, the Royal oxen eat grass, corn and beans. PHOTOS BY HENG CHIVOAN
Farmers have expressed concern after the Royal Palace fortune teller predicted that horses, buffalos and oxen could be hit by disease in the next year, while corn and bean crops would flourish.
The predictions, made by Kang Ken, were made at the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony which was held in Phnom Penh on Saturday.
The Royal oxen – who were presented with seven different types of food at the event held outside the National Museum – chose to eat from the dishes stacked with beans, corn and grass. They ignored dishes of rice, sesame, water and wine laid out in front of them.
While their chosen grains foretold healthy crops, the choice of grass is an omen for disease.
Kuoh Veng, 47, a farmer in Pursat province’s Krakor district, told The Post on Saturday that he was worried by the prediction, especially as one of his buffalos died earlier this month.
But 39-year-old Kiet Ma, a farmer from Battambang province’s Banan district, said that he was not worried as his land was rich in water and his soil was fertilised.
“It is our responsibility to be prepared in advance to prevent future damage, he said.
Kao Phal, director of the department of domesticated animals at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said that the ministry always prepared medicines to help farmers’ animals.