FISHERIES Administration staff in Kampong Thom province have destroyed six of the 16 manmade reservoirs that were slated for demolition by the end of April, and the other 10 are set to be destroyed by May 7, an official said Sunday.
“Currently, we have destroyed six of the dry-farming reservoirs,” said Vann Phanny, the bureau chief of the provincial Fisheries Administration office.
The government last year ordered that reservoirs surrounding the Tonle Sap lake be destroyed, but relented after local farmers pleaded with authorities to allow them to keep the reservoirs for one more dry season.
In a speech last month marking the conclusion of the annual Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries meeting, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered authorities to proceed with dismantling the reservoirs.
A report released by the ministry last month showed that the reservoirs had boosted crop yields, with farmers enjoying a yield of 5 tonnes of rice paddy per hectare this past dry season – the national average is just above 2.6 tonnes per hectare, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.
However, they are also believed to threaten fish habitats and cause other environmental damage, which has led to the push for their demolition.
But Hang Sokun, president of the Kampong Thom-based Cambodian Development and Dry Farming Association, said Sunday that he believes the reservoirs should not be destroyed because they “provided many benefits to the people and the national society”.