Thailand's drought-resistant crops

THAILAND - Severe drought has prompted rice farmers in Chalerm Phrakiat district in Nakhon Ratchasima to grow crops with a higher degree of drought tolerance.

Farmers in tambon Nong Yang now grow gourd, beans and cucumber via a drip irrigation system. The plants grow for about 50 days till they are harvested and farmers sell the produce to a middleman for Bt8 per kilogram.

Drought centres have been established at 32 districts in the province, including traditionally hard-hit Phimai, Khon Buri, Soeng Sang and Pak Chong.

A meeting will be held in the province tomorrow to discuss reducing off-season rice growing in areas outside irrigation zones and the implementation of measures to try to ensure enough water is available in the drought season.

There is enough water in the province's five key reservoirs, eighth irrigation office director Chitchanok Somprasert said.