Floods Won’t Wipe Out Surplus Rice Crop

A slight surplus from the rice harvest is still expected despite flooding in some provinces last weekend and last month, government officials said Tuesday.

Agriculture Minister Chhea Song said although flooding and late heavy rains occurred, the rice harvest is expected to be relatively good, with a projected 140,000-ton surplus. Last year                                                                          there was a 30,000-ton rice surplus. “In spite of the damage caused by the flood, the hot rice season will offset the damage,” Chhea Song said.

Chhea Song said, however, that at least 30,000 hectares of rice paddies have been devastated by flood and rain since mid-November when torrential rains exacted a heavy toll in Cambodia, especially in Pursat province.

Kith Seng, deputy director of the Agriculture Ministry’s planning department, told Reuters that about 5 percent of the country’s rice production may have been lost because of the recent rain. Heavy rains hit Cam­bodia again last weekend in the central and eastern parts of the country.

Nuth Sakhan, director of the Agronomy Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said that the rain from last weekend would not affect the quantity of rice production but could have slightly damaged the quality of the rice.

“I think the rain could affect the rice crop a little bit,” he said.

Nady Tan, secretary general of the Council of Ministers, said King Norodom Sihanouk was informed of the predicted improved rice harvest this month compared to the same period last year, when a drought severely hampered production.

Total rice production this year is expected to hit 3.8 million tons, compared to the 3.5 million tons that was produced last year.

Rice is usually harvested in December after the rainy season, which normally ends in mid-November.

(Additional reporting by Deutsche Presse-Agentur)

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