GIEWS Special Report: Cambodia
February 1997


Cambodia produces a surplus rice crop despite widespread flooding

Floods caused damage in the major rice growing provinces of Battambang, Kandal, Prey Veng, Siem Reap, Kompong Cham, Pursat and Takeo

Cambodia can expect a rice surplus in 1997 for the second year in a row, according to a special report prepared by FAO and the World Food Programme. Rice is by far Cambodia's most important crop, accounting for over 90 percent of the country's production area.

The report, based on a joint FAO-WFP crop and food supply assessment mission, estimates total rice production for 1996/97 at almost 3.4 million tonnes, about 2 percent above 1995/96 production forecasts and 35 percent higher than the average for the previous five years.

Favourable rainfall over most of the country benefited planting and development of the 1996 wet season rice crop. But severe flooding in September/October in several key provinces resulted in a reduced average yield - 1.67 tonnes per hectare compared with 1.75 tonnes per hectare in 1995/96 - but total output was still higher than the previous year's due to an increase in harvested area.

The total availability of rice for 1997 is estimated at 2.120 million tonnes against an overall requirement of nearly 2 million tonnes, leaving a surplus of some 127 000 tonnes.

Despite the overall surplus, large segments of the population will continue to face severe food shortages in 1997. Movement of rice from surplus to deficit areas remains problematic, as a result of the inadequacy of the emerging marketing system and transport difficulties.

Assuming no widespread displacement of people, the total food aid requirement, including emergency rations for vulnerable groups and emergency stock to be kept by the Government, amounts to almost 70 000 tonnes.

With the availability of a rice surplus in Cambodia in 1997, the report encourages donors to make local purchases for their programmes to assist vulnerable people.

7 March 1997

GIEWS special report

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