Friday, 23 May 2008

Chief astrologer says Cambodia will have 'normal' rice crop in 2008+

Kyodo News International
Friday, May 23, 2008

PHNOM PENH, May 23-(Kyodo), In a ceremony to mark the beginning of the rainy season, Cambodia's chief astrologer assured the populace Friday the country's rice crop this year will be acceptable.

"Our prediction is that we will have a normal rice crop for the upcoming harvest," Royal Astrologer Korng Ken told a crowd of thousands at Veal Menru field in the heart of the capital Phnom Penh.

He said seven golden trays with food and drink were laid out for a pair of royal oxen and the oxen consumed part of the rice, corn and beans, indicating Cambodian farmers will have normal crops of these agricultural products in 2008.

The Royal Plowing Ceremony is held every year near the palace in Phnom Penh at the start of the planting season.

In the ceremony, seven golden trays with rice, corn, beans, sesame, grass, water, and rice wine are laid out for a pair of royal oxen and predictions are made for the coming harvest based on their choices.

According to the royal astrologer, if the oxen eat grass it means bad luck for farmers because insects may disrupt crops. If they drink rice wine it means turmoil and fighting may occur in the country.

This year, the oxen did not touch the grass, water, rice wine or sesame. Water means enough water for farmers, while sesame means a big harvest.

The rainy season in Cambodia starts in May and ends in October.

Cambodia produced 6.4 million tons of rice last year and 6.2 million tons in 2006. The 2008 harvest is expected to be similar.

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