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  1. #1
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    Farmers feel pinch from drought

    NORTHEAST

    Farmers feel pinch from drought
    Farmers in the North and Northeast are beginning to feel the pinch from this year's drought, which has already ravaged tens of thousands of rai of farmland.

    A looming crisis prompted Deputy Interior Minister Sitthichai Kowsurat to inspect affected areas in Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket and Amnat Charoen provinces yesterday.

    Ubon Ratchathani's deputy provincial governor Pramote Sajjarak told the deputy minister that almost 1,400 villages in the province were facing water shortages and that the water level in rivers and natural water sources was alarmingly low.

    However, water levels in the Chi river, a major source of water for the Northeast, was still at a normal level for this time of year, he said.

    Mr Sitthichai instructed provincial governors to set up drought-relief centres in every province and make sure that each province's 50-million-baht emergency fund was spent appropriately to help drought-affected people.

    Eleven out of 17 districts in Surin have been declared disaster areas. The water crisis has reportedly affected 20,000 households and destroyed crops across over 4,500 rai of farmland, causing around 1.8 million baht in damage.

    The province's famous "elephant village" in Tha Tum district has also been badly hit by the drought, raising concerns over the health of animals.

    In Uttaradit province four districts have been declared disaster zones where some 30,000 rai of agricultural land has already been damaged.

    Apiwat Kunarak, chief of the northern region environmental protection office, said northern residents would not only be hit by water shortages, but also possible forest fires and air pollution.

    Widespread forest fires would increase the level of small dust particles in the air that could be harmful to residents.

    "It is important that locals avoid slash-and-burn cultivation and other burning activities," he said.

    The Meteorological Department, however, predicted that this year's drought will not be as serious as last year.

    The dry season is expected to end in the first week of May when farmers and villagers hope the rain will return.

    Bangkok Post

  2. #2
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    Re: Farmers feel pinch from drought

    Bad here too, we have 4 farmers pumping water from our pond onto the tobacco crops and from the looks of the tobacco they have, it is some of the best around, but the water level is getting awful low so don't think they can continue much longer.
    There is a few feet of mud in the bottom of the pond and I wish I has a small dredge or a Mud Cat and I could easily double the holding capacity of the pond.

  3. #3
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    Re: Farmers feel pinch from drought

    Can't help but wonder why the government does not invest some real money in underground or overground water catchment instead of paying out emergency fund money-after all, they can build dams when it suits them! (well, I know why really! )

  4. #4
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    Re: Farmers feel pinch from drought

    There were actually many irrigation projects in the works in Surin and Buriram provinces prior to the '06 Coup. As soon as former PM Thaksin was gone the money was gone also...go figure.
    It is a shame because those plans were well thought out and would have really helped with the drought as it is today.
    The Heart determines what is Possible by the Mind

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    Re: Farmers feel pinch from drought

    The drought in Isaan is fickle as drought can be. We got back to Bangkok from our Buriram house on Sunday evening after a few days there for Khaophansaa, It rained quite a bit while we were there. The immediate area is fairly dry and the locals are not hopeful of a good rice harvest, but a few kilometres down the road, rice fields on either side of the road, as far as the eye can see, are awash with water and rice planting is going ahead.

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