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Belgian, b. 1948
'The Cycle of Rice'. Part 8: 'Drought'
May 11, 2016
A particularly severe and long 2016 dry season, likely linked to a strong 'El Niño' phenomenon, has a devastating impact on the livelihood of farmers who primarily rely on rice growing. The so-called 'Mango Rains' have come 45 days late, the abnormally high temperatures have resulted in the death of hundreds of livestock and dried up the ponds and wells in several provinces, as well as in neighboring...
Sri Lankan New Years
May 5, 2016
In the month of April, the Buddhist Sinhalese and Hindu Tamil communities, living next to the Christian and Muslim communities of Sri Lanka celebrate their New Year. All work is halted as in a transition period of inactivity the country enters in a ‘no man’s time’ between the old and the New Year. For the Buddhist Sinhalese, festivities can be held and work can resume only after a pot of milk has been...
'The Cycle of Rice', Part 7: 'Research'
Apr 29, 2016
With its agriculture shifting little by little from a family subsistence pattern to a larger scale exploitation of the resources, and with the impact of global warming threatening yields, Cambodia has to be proactive in finding alternative solutions to the traditional ways of growing rice. The Cambodian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI), which became operational in 2000 and employs...
Father François Ponchaud
Apr 25, 2016
John Vink recently visted Father Ponchaud, a French Catholic missionary.
When Father Ponchaud first arrived to Cambodia in 1965, the country was in peace. Everything changed in 1975, when the Khmer Rouge came into power. Father Ponchaud witnessed the genocide perpetrated by Pol Pot's regime and was the first to denounce the Khmer Rouge's atrocities, first in an open letter sent to the French newspaper...
'The Cycle of Rice', Part 6: 'Reaping The Heavy Rice'
Mar 2, 2016
December is harvesting time. The cool Northern winds have dropped the temperatures to a nice 28 degrees, caressing the stems heavily loaded with ripened paddy. The 'heavy rice' ('srov kandal') traditionally is the main crop for the Cambodian farmer, providing him with the bulk of his income and food provisions. It was like that for centuries and it still is today.
How the crop is harvested is changing...