Saravan prepares new crop to replace harvest lost to floods

SARAVAN (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Farmers in 50 villages of Khongxedon district, Saravan province, are preparing to plant over 3,000 hectares of dry season rice after they lost a large amount of the wet season rice crop in the recent floods.

The Deputy Governor of Khongxedon district, Mr Khamfeua Khounnisai, said last week that people in 50 villages will start planting over 3,000 hectares of dry season rice at the end of this month, to compensate for the rice that was damaged by floodwaters.

“Authorities and villagers are now cleaning irrigation channels in the district to prepare for the dry season rice crop. Some 71 villages were affected by the floods and 68 were badly flooded. Over 15,000 hectares of agricultural land were affected and 13,500 hectares of rice and other crops were damaged,” he said.

People need more seeds to plant so they can replace the rice, sweetcorn, cucumber, beans, chilli and vegetable crops they lost. They will also need at least 5,000 tonnes of rice a month over the next six months but so far they have received only 100 tonnes. They also require drinking water.

Head of the district Agriculture and Forestry Office, Mr Sivanphakone Vongbountham, said that over 59,000 metres of irrigation channels had been affected by the floods including 27,845 metres that were lined with concrete.

“We are continuing to repair irrigation channels to ensure that enough water can be supplied during the dry season,” he said.

Last week, the authorities delivered seven tonnes of rice seeds and vegetables to the residents of 36 villages in Khongxedon district, but more are still needed.

Flood-hit farmers in Khammuan, Savannakhet, Attapeu, Saravan, Champassak and Xekong provinces all need rice seeds for dry season cultivation from November to March after floods devastated central and southern provinces at the end of August and beginning of September. More than 130,500 hectares of rice fields, 251 hectares of vegetable plots and 953 fishponds have been damaged.

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