FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 11/00 - CAMBODIA (6 November)

CAMBODIA (6 November)

Following the worst flooding for decades the humanitarian and food supply situation still remains precarious. Some 184 people were killed and the overall damage is estimated at around US$50 million. Recovery is likely to take considerable time as many areas still remain under water. Overall an estimated two million people were displaced by the floods. The worst affected areas for crops included Pursat - Kg. Speu - Kandal and Takeo, where several thousands hectares of rice fields were damaged or destroyed. Latest estimates indicate that 374 000 hectares of rice were damaged or destroyed. Emergency rehabilitation activities involving the distribution of rice seed is expected to restore about 70 000 hectares. As of the end of October, some 10 000 tonnes of rice seed had been distributed.

The country is normally prone to flooding during the rainy season during August and September, though this year flooding started in early July and has been more extensive than normal. In the last serious floods in 1996, 169 people were killed.

Harvesting of the main wet season rice crop should normally commence later this month. Although the target for 2000/01 was set at 4.2 million tonnes, it is unlikely that this will be met in view of the flood damage this year. Total 1999/2000 paddy production was a record estimated at a 4 million tonnes, some 500 000 tonnes or 14 percent above the previous year. Around 83 percent of paddy production is from the wet season crop, and the remainder from flood recession and dry season production. Rice also accounts for some 84 percent of annual food crop production and is planted on around 90 percent of cropped area, mainly in the Central Mekong Basin and Delta and the Tonle Sap Plain.

In late September, the government requested additional emergency assistance to assist flood victims, whilst the United Nations launched an emergency appeal for US$10.7 million at the beginning of October for 2.2 million of the worst affected people. To assess this year's rice harvest and review food supply prospects for the 2000/01 marketing year an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is planned to visit the country in early December.

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