The agriculture and cooperatives minister confirmed he did not prohibit farmers from growing rice but urged them to save water due to low supplies.
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Minister Chalermchai Sri-on dismissed the report that his ministry was banning rice cultivation. He said the ministry advised farmers to minimize water consumption because the amount of water at nationwide reservoirs were low as the rainy season was about to end.
Farmers should use water from natural sources as the country needed to save water for the next dry season, the minister said.
He ordered the Royal Irrigation Department to reserve as much water as possible while Tropical Storm Noul was bringing in heavy rain. Meanwhile, the Department of Agricultural Extension will promote the cultivation of the plants that consume less water including vegetables, soybean, corn and sunn hemp. The department will also find markets for growers.
Thongplew Kongjun, director-general of the Royal Irrigation Department, said it would be raining on Sept 18-20 and more water would flow into reservoirs. At present, water at main reservoirs nationwide amounts to 34.56 billion cubic meters, accounting for 49% of their combined capacity. (TNA)