Spillway brings hope for farmers in drought prone areas
IRDEP-KC – Two hundred and forty farmers’ families living in drought prone areas of Kampong Chhnang province congratulated the newly-built spillway, expecting that it allayed farmers’ concerns over the lack of water for their rice fields in the future.
Mr. Boeu Pon, 42, farmer in Chan Trak village, Krang Skear commune of Kampong Chhnang’s TuekPhos district, said he never had enough water for his rice paddy. Because of a lack of irrigation combined with frequent droughts almost every year, Pon could produce only 450 kg of rice per hectare.
He said his 3-hectare rice paddy could not produce enough rice to support his family of 5 people. Every year he needs to buy 500 kg of husked rice to eat over the rice shortage period of two months, usually commen-cing from mid September through November—a period during which rice is growing.
But this year his field has got wet since the beginning of the planting season. He was very happy with the new spillway. “This year I am very sure that I will have enough rice to eat,” he said. He expected to produce 1,200 kg of rice per hectare. He also planned to grow rice in the dry season if the spillway holds enough water for irrigating his field.
The spillway was built by the far-mers living in the villages of Chan Trak, Tr
apeang Mlu and Tuol Samraong of Krang Skear commune in Tuek Phos district of Kampong Chhnang. The construction cost totaled 9,400,000 riels ($2,350), of which $205 was contributed by LWF, $1,000 by a generous person in the US, and $1,145 (in kind and cash) by the 3 villages.
The spillway was built in October 2010 and completed in February 2011. It can irrigate 545.62 of 975.74 hectares of the rice paddy in the 3 villages.
Ngin Sim, 55, Chan Trak Village Development Committee member, said if the community did not build the spillway, they would keep lac-king rice to eat every year.
“I saw the rice in the field growing so well with enough water. I expect that farmers will get higher yield this year,” she said.