Monday, March 30, 2009

Cambodia Spends US$ 300 M on Irrigation

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia plans to build more water irrigation systems in order to improve the agricultural sector and develop farming activities in Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen said during the Chareuk Water Irrigation Construction’s inauguration ceremony in Pursat province.

The agricultural sector is a main priority in Phase II of the government’s Rectangle Strategy 2008 to 2013.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia will do its best to build more dams and water irrigation systems for Cambodian farmers in all cities and provinces across the Kingdom of Cambodia,” Hun Sen said.

Lim Kean Hor, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology (MoWRAM), said in the past, Cambodian farmers’ practices were dependent on the rainy season. They could produce rice only one or two times per year.

In recent years, Cambodian farmers have faced many problems due to the droughts and the lack of water irrigation systems, he said. During the fourth mandate of the government, MoWRAM planned to spend US$300 million between 2008 and 2013 to construct irrigation systems and dams.

The ministry will construct a total of 48 water irrigation dams in priority cities and provinces by the end of 2009, Kean Hor said. The construction will cost more than US$ 77 million, with funding jointly provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia and its development partners. He added that more irrigation dams will be constructed in cites and provinces through out the country in upcoming years.

“The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology hopes that with the new irrigation systems, all Cambodian farmers will have enough water to do their farming and will also be able to increase plant and rice production in the future,” Kean Hor said.

According to the Ministry of Planning, 85 percent of Cambodia’s 14 million people are farmers.

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