Rice production underpins the national economy and the most rural livelihoods in Cambodia, but it is negatively impacted by repeated droughts. The research reported on in this paper focuses on relationships between drought occurrences in Cambodia's most drought-prone province (Kampong Speu) and (i) damage to the annual rice harvest between 1994 and 2011, and (ii) the Niño 3.4 index. Droughts were identified using the Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI). In seven of the years between 1994 and 2006 droughts damaged >1000 ha of rice in the Kampong Speu province. Furthermore, in 11 years >200 ha of rice were damaged. A critical success index of 0.66 obtained for an analysis of SPI-defined drought and area rice damage in the province indicates a strong statistical relationship. A statistically significant correlation (r = -0.455) was achieved between Niño 3.4 and 12-month SPI values lagged by three months, this indicates the importance of ENSO linkages in explaining drought in this region. Late season droughts lead to greater rice damage than early- and mid-season droughts.
- Kampong speu
- Niño 3.4
- Standardized precipitation index