The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) warned Friday the lingering
drought will damage the year's summer crop output, but analysts say
the country's grain crop prices won't be much affected.
Nearly 15 million hectares of arable land have been affected by
the drought triggered by high temperatures and strong winds, latest
figures from the State Flood Control and Draught Relief
Drought has affected some part of China every day since the
beginning of the year. Under the impact of global warming, the
situation is likely to further deteriorate in the foreseeable
Currently, 25 percent more Chinese land is affected by drought
than the average in previous years.
"Summer crops are in a crunch situation. If the drought
continues in wheat producing areas, China will be unable to reach
its summer crop targets," said a MOA statement.
A preliminary survey by the Wheat Chapter of the China National
Association of Grain Crops in worst-stricken Hebei Province
projects lower wheat output, the staple of summer crops.
"The decline will not seriously affect the year's grain reserve
and supply. But the official forecast has not yet been released,"
an agency spokeswoman told Xinhua by phone, adding that similar
surveys are under way in other drought-hit regions.
The drought started in northern China in late April and spread
to Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Gansu, Hubei, Henan,
Liaoning, Chongqing, Sichuan and Yunnan.
China's wheat output is expected to go down by 2.53 percent
year-on-year to 101.8 million tons even if the weather turns
favorable, said the China National Grain and Oils Information
Center in its monthly update in May.
There will be no rainfall in the next three days in northern
China and the Huanghe and Huaihe River Valleys where drought has
wrought havoc, according to a Friday forecast by the China
Given the government's massive grain crop reserve, analysts said
the drop won't result in a grain shortfall or drastic price
Summer crops normally make up 20 percent of China's annual grain
output which has grown for three straight years since 2003 to
497.46 million tons last year, up 2.8 percent or 13.44 million tons
With the harvesting of summer crops only a month away, the
Ministry of Agriculture has urged governments in drought-stricken
areas to mobilize local farmers to fight against the extreme
weather which has left nine million people and 7 million livestock
short of drinking water.
More than 1.2 million farmers in Henan were mobilized on a daily
basis in the first half of May, using 276,000 electrical pumps to
The Hebei provincial government has started to ration its
underground water supply to meet production and domestic
(Xinhua News Agency May 19, 2007)