BANGKOK, 13 Feb 2014, Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Yukol Limlaemthong has implored rice farmers not to conduct off-season cultivation as the amount of water stored in dams along the Chao Phraya River is not enough for such a water demanding activity.
The comment followed Mr. Yukol’s recent meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee on the latest developments in the water supply situation in the nation. Mr. Yukol reported that the combined amount of water in the nation’s prime reservoirs; Bhumibol and Sirikit dams on Wednesday was measured at 5 million cubic meters, adding that out of that quantity 2 million cubic meters will be used for agricultural and environmental support purposes over the next 3 months, leaving only a small amount of water available for general use until the rainy season arrives in May.
The Agriculture Minister quoted his Ministry’s reports, saying that reservoirs along the Chao Phraya river wouldn’t hold sufficient water to support another round of off-season cultivation. He stressed that violators,who started planting their crops on February 1st, would lose their rights to participate in the Government’s next round of the rice pledging scheme or any other assistance program even if their farmlands are located in the drought disaster zones.
On the other hand, Minister Yukol said that his ministry would submit to the Office of National Water and Flood Management Policy, several of its farmer assistance measures before presenting them to the cabinet for consideration next week. He said such projects included measures to help rice farmers who are unable to cultivate, and the 45 million baht agricultural skills development program.