Lack of rain threatens rice trials

Rice trials were started at the Apsara research farm, however the farm relies almost entirely on the Barai, a large reservoir about 1km away for water. A extensive system of irrigation canals spans over more than one district and many farmers within this zone rely on this for crop irrigation.

T0 = control, T1 = 5t/ha compost, T2 = 5t/ha compost + 20t/ha biochar, T3 = 5t/ha compost + 40t/ha biochar.

Rice trials Tuk Vil, far plot T1, near plot T0. 17.06.2010

Rice trials Tuk Vil, far plot T3, near plot T4. 17.06.2010

The current Barai irrigation system was designed and built by the French in the 1930’s however agriculture based on irrigation has taken place in this region since the Angkor Empire in the 11th century. The reservoir has a storage capacity of 40 million m3 and serves an agricultural area of 12,000 ha which includes 4,000 ha served by the gravity distribution system through 50km of canals. The beneficiaries were estimated to be 5,465 households in 1990s (Barai references: http://www.cascambodia.org/farm.htm).

Changing weather patterns have been identified by many farmers who are involved in the trials whose agricultural calendar is ruled by the coming of the rainy season.

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