03 April 08
Export Quality Rice
We have proposed to the Prime Minister of Qatar to bring back some package of rice for trial and we have prepared for him seven different kinds of rice species. We served him during the banquet with our rice and he noted that this long grain tastes good and he requested some for trial. What is more important here is to change from growing long-term (six-month) rice to medium (more than four months) and short-term rice (three-month).
We have discovered that the land area for growing long-term rice has gone down whereas the land area for medium and short-term rice has increased. It is indeed not easy to induce changes in the people's habit of rice production.
Statistical Improvement a Must
I would state in this moment that it is important to get our data/statistic right or we will have a lot of problems. Take for instance there has been some reports that provide us figures that are unbelievable. Did they go and measure it themselves? Now that we have better instrument for measuring like GPS and this could be of tremendous help to us.
When we noted the increase of dry-season rice yield, from a statistical point of view we have to find out the cause for the increase. It is already discovered that the main factor for the increase has been the building of water canals all over the country or we could suppose that we have improved our capability in irrigation. It is good indeed to keep our statistics in tact so that it will keep us informed of where we are and what else could be done.
I remember that when I stand here 23 years ago in 1985, I proposed that the state sell tractors to farmers. At that time the state provided service of tilting land and it was difficult to get the money from the farmers. Therefore I instructed that the state sell the tractors to farmers. Now we have noticed that more farmers opted for mechanical tools instead of work animals in their agro activities. We should orientate them to continue using mechanical tools but not to leave animals all out for we still need them when it is necessary.
We use tractors and other mechanized tools when we have fuels but we would not have to pay for their meals when we use animals. They give us pulling power, fertilizers and meat.
It is indeed a matter of concern because we are in the phase of privatizing our rubber plantations, which means the Government or state no longer manages them. It is also noted the increase of household rubber plantations because more people want to grow rubber since its price has gone high from 600 US dollars to 2600 US dollars in the international market. It is important to raise our people's awareness of the need of the best rubber species. Because of the increase of about 10,000 hectares per year of household rubber, we would have in the future bigger household rubber than that of the state. After its latex period is over rubber also gives us their timbers.
I may not understand all about fishing but when I flew over the great lake of Tonele Sap I have noticed extensive fishing traps that seemed to have left no room for fish to recuperate. We have to work out a norm that will be respected by all fishing community and whoever is to violate the set norm will have to be reprimanded or stripped off their fishing rights.
With regards to building water reservoirs around the Great Lake of Tonle Sap, especially in the province of Kompong Thom, action to conserve water for irrigation for the dry season rice is welcome but we find it unacceptable that this action has led to anarchic deforestation of bushes and inundated forest. According to the report from Kompong Thom we have a total area of 12,000 hectares from 113 water reservoirs built altogether. We should conduct a monitoring process to see if anyone of them would be detrimental to the ecosystem so as we could legalize those places productive ecosystem. I would say the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology will be the one to conduct this monitoring study./.