NGO Donates Rice in Wake of Late Harvest

The World Food Program teamed up this week with the Na­tion­al Committee for Disaster Ma­nagement, donating about 1,000 tons of rice for villagers feeling the strain of a late harvest, officials said Thursday.

The partnership, which is a first for the organizations, comes among concerns over the security of this year’s food supply.

“What worries us the most is fur­ther drought,” said Chan Sa­run, min­ister of agriculture. “If it does not rain…food security will sure­ly be in a very difficult situation.”

He estimated that 5 percent to 10 percent of the country’s transplanted rice paddies will be damaged by the arrival of an early dry season this year.

But Nhim Vanda, first vice pres­ident of the National Com­mit­tee for Disaster Management, put the figure at 20 percent.

Disaster officials said that farmers in the central and southern regions of the country stand to be most affected by drought.

Chan Sarun said he was holding out hopes for a late rain.

Nhim Vanda said his authority will be working closely with local government officials and organizations to distribute the WFP aid.

“My authority is transparent and effective in distributing this relief aid,” he said. “We are not like other institutions that were not clean while using donor’s money.”

Earlier this year, several officials and WFP staff were caught up in a scandal that di­vert­­ed thousands of tons of donated rice from villagers to private sale.

Nhim Vanda would not comment directly on the scandal, but said that officials must not take in­ter­national donors for granted.

“We have to learn from our mistakes and correct them,” he said.


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