Agriculture Ministry to map out drought contingency plans

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BANGKOK, 4 September 2015 (NNT) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has assigned the Department of Agricultural Extension and the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) to map out contingency plans to cope with drought.

In response to the recent prolonged dry season, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya has convened a meeting with concerned agencies to discuss ways to prepare farmers for a possible drought crisis next year.

The Department of Agricultural Extension has been assigned to work out a contingency plan for farmers within a month. The plan, of which the detail is to include drought-prone provinces and a list of water-saving crops, will be given out to farmers across the country in October, so that they can use it as guidelines in the event of drought.

Meanwhile, the Royal Irrigation Department has been tasked with seeking new water sources to boost the supplies for the fiscal year 2016. RID Director General Lertwiroj Gowattana said Joint Management Committee for Irrigation had undertaken water management plans in line with geographical conditions of individual areas.

According to the RID chief, water reserves for provinces along the Chao Phraya River after the rainy season are estimated at 3.7 million cubic meters. Water reserves for provinces along the Mae Klong River are likely to stand at 4.8 million cubic meters in January next year.

The RID has also called on farmers who have finished their harvest to delay their next round of rice growing so that there would be enough water for those who have yet to begin their yearly cultivation.