News last update:6 Aug 2012

Drought threatens Chinese wheat crop

A severe drought in northern China has hit almost 43% of the country's wheat crop this winter, senior officials have warned. Low rainfall since October has affected more than 9.3m hectares (229.71 acres) of land in northern China across six major grain-producing provinces, according to the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

The Agricultural Ministry's website called the current situation "grim," with 80% of the farmland for winter crops affected — a total of 1.1 million acres (483,000 hectares) — because of little precipitation, high temperatures and decreased river flow.Henan Daily reported that the drought is the province's most severe since 1951, with no rain for 105 days. It warned that up to 63% of the region's wheat crop is threatened. In Anhui the provincial government said the drought had already caused losses of 1.6bn yuan. It has set aside hundreds of millions of yuan to assist farmers.

The drought affected a huge swath of northern and central China, and Beijing declared an emergency at the beginning of the month after a drop in rainfall caused winter wheat crops to wither and left millions of people in eight provinces without adequate drinking water.

The provincial government has launched an emergency response, sending experts to help farmers irrigate their crops, the Associated Press reports.


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