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Prospects for agricultural water management
The core constraints to rice production growth are: (i) underfunding of agricultural crop extension programmes; (ii) inadequate funding for scientific agricultural research; (iii) low production and availability of improved rice seed; (iv) lack of commercial farm credit system; (v) stagnating rice crop yield growth rates; (vi) stagnating irrigation expansion (USDA, 2010).
MOWRAM and MAFF are working to increase investment in irrigation and research to promote agricultural production for poverty reduction. MOWRAM has shown a strong commitment to increase the irrigated area in Cambodia by 20 000 ha/year. Increasing investment in irrigation to increase rice production and encourage agricultural diversification for food security and higher value-added crops is essential, but these are not the only goals of water resources management. Integrated water resources management involves agriculture, fish production, biodiversity, water supply and sanitation, and transport and hydropower. Thus it is crucial that basin-wide management issues are considered when planning irrigation development (CDRI, 2008).
MOWRAM has begun preliminary studies for constructing dams across four provinces, which will cost US$4 000 million. The ministry is planning to build more than ten dams and related irrigation systems in four northwestern provinces to ensure rice production during both the rainy and the dry seasons. The proposed dams would provide the country with a more modern irrigation system as well as generate electricity for rural communities. The ministry aims to build four dams in Pursat province that would supply irrigation to more than 35 000 ha of land and generate as much as 300 MW of power for local communities. Other proposed dam sites include locations in Battambang, Kampong Chhnang and Banteay Mean Chey provinces. Though, the government must look outside the country for the money needed to complete the ambitious project (Asean Affairs, 2008).
The expression ‘Stung’, which is often added to the names of rivers, means ‘river’. Therefore, in this English version of the country profile, this word has been removed from the name of the river and replaced by the word ‘River’. As an example, ‘Stung Pursat’ and ‘Stung Sisophon’ have been changed to Pursat river and Sisophon river.