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Island province faces severe agricultural losses
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The low temperature and rainfalls have caused a loss of 993 million yuan (137.9 million U.S. dollars) in agriculture in Hainan Province, a provincial government spokesman said on Thursday.

The tropical island province experienced the worst cold weather and consecutive rains in 39 years. A cold front on Tuesday led to a temperature plunge after a 26-day rainy spell.

According to statistics obtained by the provincial agriculture department, vegetables, rice and fruits were destroyed on 107,000 hectares by cold weather, causing a direct economic loss of 620 million yuan. In the meantime, tropic plants like rubber, pepper and coconut trees were also affected, making a 179-million-yuan loss.

Besides, the animal husbandry and fishery also suffered great loss when the wicked weather gripped the island. Quite a number of livestock and fishes died of illness due to the low temperature, bringing the total losses to 993 million yuan.

To deal with the disaster, the provincial government has allocated 6 million yuan as subsidies for farmers to plant more vegetables and melon on the island in the hope of meeting the people's needs in snow-hit areas in China.

The provincial agriculture department predicted that prices of melon and vegetables in Hainan would keep growing as snow had decreased the vegetable production in most part of China. Therefore, the farmer's income in the province was expected to exceed that of last year.

(Xinhua News Agency February 29, 2008)

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