Drought-hit China region lowers grain output target

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The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China Friday said it had lowered its grain output target for 2010 by 1.02 percent, as the worst drought in decades is likely to curtail production in the region.

At a meeting to discuss spring farming held late last month, the local government agreed it would keep this year's grain output above 14.6 billion kilograms, 150 million kilograms less than the target it set in January. The affects of the drought in Guangxi was slightly alleviated as artificially-induced rain fell Thursday and Friday, but the drought was likely to continue without more rain soon, said Chen Jian, an official with the local weather bureau.

As of Tuesday, the lingering drought had left 24.25 million people and 15.84 million farm animals short of water, Vice Minister of Water Resources Liu Ning said Wednesday.

Since autumn last year, the southwest China provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chongqing Municipality, have received only half the annual average rainfall and water stores are depleted.

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