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Drought Destroys A Tenth of Cambodian Rice Crop; Rains May Ease Threat
AFP, November 15, 2004
Up to 10 percent of impoverished Cambodia’s rice crop has been lost to drought since last month, a minister said Monday, but rains that started overnight could bring relief.
A lack of rain since mid-October jeopardized one of two annual rice harvests in Cambodia, where about 85 percent of the 13 million people depend on growing rice to survive.

“We estimate that the result of the loss is not beyond more than 10 percent across the country,” Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun told reporters after meeting with officials to discuss the critical situation.
He said this equated to less than 200,000 hectares (494,220 acres) out of the two million hectares under cultivation.
The ministry has prepared 3,000 tons of rice seeds for affected areas to plant in the coming dry season, with the worst hit being places also suffering from a lack of irrigation, Chan Sarun said. Western Kampong Speu province has been worst affected, losing 60 percent of its yield, followed by southeastern Prey Veng, eastern Kampong Cham and central Kampong Thom provinces, he said. The ministry also urged people in affected areas to raise animals and grow substitute crops requiring less water.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech broadcast on national radio that overnight rainfall in many districts, which was expected to continue, should provide relief.
The prime minister warned last week that thousands of families were facing food shortages due to the drought and ordered the distribution of water pumps, food and fuel to those facing difficulties. The Cambodian government and Red Cross have provided food for up to 17,000 families since late October.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said in 2003 that three percent of Cambodia’s population of 13 million was undernourished.
MGR Archive 16.11.2004
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