A farmer harvests dates from a date palm tree in 2013. Said Khatib/AFP
Hor Kimsay, The Phnom Penh Post Tue, 25 October 2016
A Thai agricultural company will work with a local firm to introduce commercial date palm cultivation to the Kingdom, which it claims can generate more profits for farmers than pepper and other cash crops, and for which it has already lined up buyers.
Chiang Mai-based Daily Green Co Ltd inked a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia’s Kheng Lay Co Ltd yesterday that outlines a partnership plan to educate Cambodian farmers on the commercial benefits of date palm cultivation, and supply seeds, saplings and technical support to farmers who choose to grow the cash crop.
Kheng Chantha, owner of Kheng Lay, said he has successfully grown date palms on a 10-hectare experimental farm in Kandal province, and the fruit-bearing variety of palm grows well in Cambodia and could provide a supplementary source of income for rural families.
He said the partnership agreement will see Daily Green responsible for supplying seeds and saplings to Kheng Lay, which will distribute them to local farmers and support their date production with technical advice and help in securing supplier contracts. The two companies will look to enlist local farmers to grow date palms on 50,000 hectares in the coming five years.
“We are investigating how many farmers in Cambodia want to be involved with us and grow date palms on their land,” said Chantha. “Date palms can be more competitive and provide more benefits to farmers than growing other crops, such as pepper.”
Date palms begin to bear fruit about three years after planting and can live for decades, he said. The nutritious, sweet fruit can be eaten fresh or dried, or processed into many food or beverage products, such as ice cream. (more…)
Motorists turn around on Chamka Doung road yesterday in Dangkor district after flood waters rendered the road impassable. Heng Chivoan
Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Joey Chua Xue Ting The Phnom Penh Post, Thu, 20 October 2016
More families have been forced to temporarily move and numerous businesses were affected after a still-unpatched leak in the capital’s Prek Thnout dam led to unprecedented flooding along a section of road in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district starting late on Tuesday night.
A 2-kilometre stretch of road along Street 217 – which runs from the south of Spean Thma commune’s Prek Chrey bridge to Roluos commune’s Kuo Srov roundabout – yesterday saw water levels almost knee-deep, prompting a factory located along the road, Y&W Garment Co Ltd, to temporarily close down.
“To prevent any danger befalling our workers and staff – totalling about 2,000 people – our factory on Tuesday declared a temporary holiday until the water recedes,” said Cheab Pichnary, administration assistant of the children’s garment manufacturer.
Several tightly bundled, metre-high bags of scrap cloth from the factory could be seen densely packed in a row to form a barrier stemming the water’s flow into the premises.
“We started building [the barrier] at 11pm [on Tuesday], when the water level started rising, until the sky was bright,” said Wang Xing Shan, a worker at the factory.
According to Pichnary, the factory – which typically produces about 2,000 pieces of clothing per hour – yesterday missed exporting four containers of an overseas shipment.
Security guards walk over a makeshift footpath on Phnom Penh’s Chamka Doung road yesterday after flood waters inundated the area. Joey Chua Xue Ting
“Our factory is suffering a loss of $40,000 to $50,000 per day, and we will lose even more if the flooding continues,” she said.
Business, meanwhile, was dismal at a stall selling local dishes opposite the factory.
“Our business depends on the factory workers,” stall vendor Roth Sreymom, 18, said. “If the workers do not work, we won’t be able to sell food, too. We will lose our income if the workers have a long holiday.”
According to an updated report released yesterday by the National Committee for Disaster Management, flooding has so far affected a total of 850 families in all of Dangkor district, 250 of which have been evacuated.
“The water is knee-deep now,” said 32-year-old Sovesna, a resident who lives along the road, but was forced to temporarily relocate. “My family and I decided to pack our stuff to stay at our relatives’ house for a while to avoid any unexpected accidents such as electric shock.”
Dangkor district governor Nut Puthdara yesterday said traffic along the road will be temporarily halted to “reduce road damage”, and called for public patience and cooperation.
A woman makes her way through the flooded grounds of a pagoda earlier this week in Phnom Penh’s Spean Thma commune. Pha Lina
Khouth Sophak Chakrya The Phnom Penh Post, Wed, 19 October 2016
The homes of 230 families in Phnom Penh’s southwest have now been evacuated due to flooding, an official said yesterday, as authorities worked to stem flooding caused by a leak in the Prek Thnout dam that threatens to send yet more water into the capital.
A collapsed section of wall in the Dangkor district dam has been sending water into the capital since the upstream Svay Dam in Kampong Speu was damaged on Saturday, putting pressure on it. Flood waters have already inundated parts of Dangkor district.
District Governor Nut Puthdara said the waters have so far flooded 569 houses in Dangkor, causing some families to be evacuated until the waters recede. “Up to Monday afternoon, 230 families were evacuated to live temporarily in the safe hills after their houses were flooded,” Puthdara said, adding that officials were surveying the extent of the damage in order to work out what flood relief to distribute.
Water Resources Minister Lem Keanhor said local authorities and villagers living near the Prek Thnout dam also continued yesterday to try to stem the flow of the water using sandbags and other debris, while officials from the ministry worked to repair the leak.
Further southwest, Hong Chansokha, director of Kampong Speu’s provincial department of works and transportation, said people should now avoid travelling on National Road 3, which is flooded, and instead use the nearby National Road 4. On Sunday, he had said those wishing to travel along National Road 4 should instead use National Road 3.
“We want people owning heavy trucks to use National Road 4 instead to avoid worse damage,” he said. “National Road 4 has returned to normal already.”
Kampong Speu Governor Vi Samnang said the waters were now starting to recede, and that damage to dams in Kong Pisei, Oral and Samrong Tong districts had been repaired to preserve water.
“Now the water has receded after it flowed to the lower areas, such as Kandal province, Phnom Penh and Takeo province,” he said. “Our team is filling in the damage to the dams with soil to keep the water, since we might be lacking it in the dry season.”
National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy said that since September 29, more than 10,000 hectares of rice paddies across eight provinces nationwide had been flooded, with about 3,000 hectares completely destroyed.
A child plays in flood waters with an inner tube yesterday at Phnom Penh’s Spean Thma commune. Pha Lina
Khouth Sophak Chakrya
The Phnom Penh Post, Tue, 18 October 2016
Thousands of homes in Phnom Penh and Kampong Speu have been flooded after three dams were seriously damaged following two weeks of torrential rain and warnings from government officials.
The homes of 1,637 families in nine different Dangkor district communes have been flooded following severe damage to the three dams, according to a police inspector who asked to be identified only as Panha. An additional 1,367 homes have been flooded in Kampong Speu.
Prek Thnout dam was seriously damaged in one spot – where a section of concrete wall collapsed – and sprung a more minor leak in another yesterday, according to Dangkor District Governor Nut Putdara. On Saturday, Roland Chrey dam in Kampong Speu was damaged, and Svay dam followed suit yesterday evening.
Putdara told the Post yesterday that the damage to the Roland Chrey and Svay dams in Kampong Speu had contributed to the damage of the dam in Dangkor.
“After Roland Chrey and Svay Dam broke in Kampong Speu province, the water level in the Prek Thnout River near Phnom Penh rose dramatically,” he said, explaining that the sudden influx of water was too much for the dam to bear.
Authorities have enlisted local people living near Prek Thnout dam into helping repair the damage to prevent even more serious flooding. They have been unsuccessfully trying to plug the leaks with sandbags and a makeshift earthen berm.
A Phnom Penh resident moves her possessions to dry ground yesterday after her Dangkor district house was inundated by flood waters. Pha Lina
“Now, our authorities are actively trying to repair the dam and prevent further damage by using sandbags, tree branches and soil,” Putdara said.
Earlier this month, Putdara warned villagers to be prepared to evacuate to safe zones on higher land in the event of serious flooding.
Yesterday evening, Chhum Chhin, chief of Baku village in Dangkor district, told the Post that 70 families living in his village have packed their things and moved from their flooded homes to safer areas. They are currently living on elevated roadways and hills nearby.
“We are worried about the flood. I think that if it keeps raining and water keeps flowing from Kampong Speu province, houses, schools and pagodas located in the lowland area near the Prek Thnout River will be flooded,” Chhin said.
In Kampong Speu, authorities reported that flooding damaged the two dams at a total of six locations, causing further flooding that made 20 sections of road inaccessible and destroyed 146 hectares of rice crops.
Kampong Speu Provincial Governor Vi Samnang reported that the 1,367 families in nine communes of Kong Pisei district are experiencing flooding, but said the dams cannot be repaired.
“Now, we cannot block the dam since the current is too strong. So we have to let it flow in order to avoid the serious damage,” Samnang said.
An overloaded truck travels though the street of Phnom Penh yesterday afternoon. Pha Lina
Touch Sokha, The Phnom Penh Post Fri, 14 October 2016
Some 500 overloaded trucks have been stopped and collectively fined more than $300,000 by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in the past five months.
According to a series of reports by the ministry, inspection stations across the country collected a total of $310,000 from 532 trucks found to exceed the weight limit – by anywhere from four to 48 tonnes – from May to September this year.
“We are committed to cracking down on 100 percent [of overloaded trucks] in order to reduce road damage,” Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said in a meeting on Wednesday. “We do not care who the overloaded trucks belong to . . we abide by the law and fine all of them without exception.”
The crackdown will be carried out by a newly established task force comprising the police, ministry officials, experts and technicians, he said, who will be dispatched across the country to demand overloaded truck drivers dismantle modifications that allow their vehicles to carry heavier loads than legally allowed.
The task force will be allowed to dismantle the modifications on behalf of truck owners for a service fee, he added.
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, acknowledged the importance of the task force, but said that it has to “work hard and be active”, in addition to being “transparent and accountable in order to avoid criticism”.