KHON KAEN, 11 November 2014 – Several provinces, including Khon Kaen, Si Sa Ket and Uthai Thani, are suffering from winter drought conditions while farmers have been told to avoid planting off-season rice.
Upon winter’s arrival, severe drought has been reported in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen, especially in Nam Phong district. Heavy damages from shortage of water have been inflicted on paddy fields while the presence of morning dew is adding to the farmers’ plight as it tends to cause fungus on rice grains. Many farmers have opted to cultivate sugarcane instead of rice.
In Si Sa Ket, the Provincial Office of Agriculture and Cooperatives has conferred with related agencies on the preparations for this year’s drought, which is expected to be more threatening than in previous years. Ad-hoc centers will soon be set up in each district to oversee water management, provide advice and guidance for local agriculturists and facilitate rainmaking operations.
Meanwhile, the Irrigation Office in Uthai Thani has indicated that the water levels at local dams and reservoirs are still below normal. The situation has prompted the authorities to stop the discharge of water to agricultural areas and farmers have been instructed to refrain from off-season cultivation completely.
The office is planning to employ over 300 local farmers to dredge irrigation canals for a period of 45 days as a way to provide them with supplementary income this winter.