“When my crops depended on rain, it was like making a contract with the Weather God. I did my best, but if He didn’t send water at the right time, I would still lose my crop. With the canal, it is different. The canal ensures there is water. The rest is up to our hard work.”
This, in the words of rice farmer Deur Sok, is the difference a canal built in 2022 as part of a World Food Programme-backed project is making in Sambour, a commune in central Cambodia’s Kampong Thom province.
It is the time of day when the setting sun turns the rice fields – stretching as far as the eye can see – gold, silver and pink. Deur Sok stands on the bank of the canal, looking lovingly at his one-hectare plot where tender seedlings are beginning to emerge from the water.