Govt calls on farmers to stop growing rice in off-season

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The government has called on farmers to stop growing rice in the off-season to save water for personal consumption. Three million rai of land in the Chao Phraya River basin has already been used to grow rice in the extra season, but is yet to be provided with water.

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Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon has delivered policy for the steering of the National Water Directorate, which has been following the overall water situation and introducing measures to alleviate problems. So far, 18 provinces have been declared drought-affected zones and 54 others have been declared “at risk” of lacking sufficient water for consumption and agriculture.

Gen Prawit said there is a reduced volume of water this year, particularly in the Chao Phraya River basin where the water supply will only be sufficient for consumption, and should be used very sparingly for agriculture; plants which consume less water should be grown instead. The government has taken measures to provide enough water for the people’s consumption and ordered the drilling of more artesian wells.

Meanwhile, the Office of National Water Resources has integrated operational plans to prevent drought in the 2019/2020 season by preparing reserves of water for consumption in areas at risk of being hit by drought. This water will be provided to hospitals and for cash crops.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Ministry of the Interior will take measures to contain the adverse effects of drought on rice grown in the extra season while farmers would receive compensation payments for any damage to their rice farms due to drought.

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