Farmers Benefiting From Early Start of the Year’s First Rains

The occasional rains that precede the wet season have started early this year, leading to slightly cooler weather and benefits for agricultural crops, government officials and farmers said yesterday.

Oum Ryna, deputy director of meteorology at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said that short showers were un­usually early this year, starting in mid-February.

“It rained in all the provinces, but especially in the coastal provinces and the northwestern provinces like Pailin, Banteay Meanchey and Bat­tambang,” he said.

Due to early rains, the dry season had so far been cooler than the last dry season, Mr Ryna said, explaining that day temperatures averaged be­tween 32 and 34 degrees celsius so far this season. Last season, the average range was 2 degrees higher.

Chan Tong Yves, secretary of state at the Agriculture Ministry, said the early showers could benefit some crops. He added, however, that dry season rice farmers were about to harvest and could be negatively affected, as their harvest can get wet before storage. “This year, the occasional [rains] started earlier than last year. It is good for fruit trees, plants and agribusiness but it affects dry season rice because farmers are harvesting,” he said.

Oum Mak, a farmer in Banteay Meanchey province’s Phnom Srok district, said his village had seen one short shower last week. “It rain­ed­…for about 20 minutes. The soil got wet,” he said.

Khuon Beb, a farmer in Pailin province’s Sala Krao district, said his cassava crop received several heavy showers in recent weeks and that rains soaked his farmland yesterday.                         “This year, there are good rains and our cassava crop is also good,” Mr Beb said. “The rain is unusual. It’s different from last year. Rains are coming early and rains are heavy.”

“This year, a lot of farmers planted cassava, and they are glad there are good rains but we don’t know if we will get a good price” for the upcoming harvest, he said.


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