The Royal Irrigation Department chief on Friday expressed confidence that rice grown in 265,000 rai (42,400 hectares) of paddy fields in Phitsanulok and Sukhothai will be safe from annual flooding.
Sanchai Ketworachai, director general of the department, said the paddy fields were grown under a project initiated by Agriculture Minister Chatchai Sarikalya. Farmers plant the rice earlier in the season so that the product can be harvested before the annual flooding.
Sanchai said the project has been successful because all the rice will be ripe for harvesting before August 15. The area will then be used for water retention as part of the Bang Rakam 60 model project.
The irrigation chief said farmers have so far harvested 80,000 rai of rice in the project area.
The project spans five districts – Prom Piram, Mueang and Bang Rakam, Wat Bote in Phitsanulok and Kong Kailart in Sukhothai.
Farmers began growing their rice at the start of April instead of waiting for the beginning of May. The Royal Irrigation allocated 228 million cubic metres of water for the farmland to enable the earlier planing, said the irrigation chief.
Sanchai said farmers involved in the project could rest assured that their rice would be safe from floodwaters if they harvest it before the middle of next month.