Photographer's Note


Cambodia's cultivated rice land can be divided into three areas. The first and richest covers the area of the Tonle Sap Basin and the provinces of Batdambang, Kampong Thum, Kampong Cham, Kandal, Prey Veng, and Svay Rieng. The second area, which yields an average of four-fifths of a ton of rice per hectare, consists of Kampot and Kaoh Kong provinces along the Gulf of Thailand, and some less fertile areas of the central provinces. The third area, with rice yields of less than three-fifths of a ton per hectare, is comprised of the highlands and the mountainous provinces of Preah Vihear, Stoeng Treng, Rotanokiri and MondolKiri.

Even though Cambodia has two rice crops each year (a monsoon-season crop and a dry-season crop), the per-hectare rice yield in Cambodia is among the lowest in Asia. The major monsoon crop is planted in late May through July, when the first rains of the monsoon season begin to inundate and soften the land. Rice shoots are transplanted from late June through September. The main harvest is usually gathered six months later, in December. The dry-season crop is smaller, and it takes less time to grow (three months from planting to harvest). It is planted in November in areas that have trapped or retained part of the monsoon rains, and it is harvested in January or February. The dry-season crop seldom exceeds 15% of the total annual production.

In addition to these two regular crops, peasants plant floating rice in April and in May in the areas around the Tonle Sap Great Lake, which floods and expands its banks in September or early October. Before the flooding occurs, the seed is spread on the ground without any preparation of the soil, and the floating rice is harvested nine months later, when the stems have grown to three or four meters in response to the peak of the flood (the floating rice has the property of adjusting its rate of growth to the rise of the flood waters so that its grain heads remain above water). It has a low yield, probably less than half that of most other rice types, but it can be grown inexpensively on land for which there is no other use.

In the past, to sell rice, poor men, women and children in rural villages would have to travel to a market that is located some ten kilometers away where middlemen use their own weighing scales, a kind of scale that would read 20% less than its actual weight. They set the price and the weights. But what can poor people do but to sell rice to them?



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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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