A top Agriculture Ministry official said Thursday he was optimistic that 1.8 million hectares of rice can still be planted this rainy season, despite a prolonged dry spell and insect infestations in several provinces.
Speaking after the first of two days of meetings on rice production, Agriculture Undersecretary of State Chan Tong Yves said rice shortages could still be averted provided the amount of rainfall increases soon.
To date, he said, about 36 percent of rainy-season rice paddies have been planted.
The Council of Ministers has already announced the country might need to import up to 250,000 tons of rice. Cambodia typically produces about 2 million tons of rice.
But officials say the late rainy season, pest infestations that have destroyed several thousand hectares of crops and unchecked cross-border trade have caused a potential shortage.