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Drought partly eased after precipitation
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The area of drought-hit arable land has shrunk by 14 percent compared with the middle of March, Xinhua learnt from the Ministry of Agriculture on Monday.

Farmers in Xidaoan Village, Huanghua City, Hebei Province, irrigate wheat field by pumping water on March 17, 2008. The province has been hit by severe drought in spring, with the area of drought-stricken farmland reaching 50 million mu (3.34 million hectares).

Northeastern and northwestern regions, which had been hard-hit, saw the area of drought-affected land decrease by 36.6 percent and 24.6 percent, respectively.

According to the result of the ministry's latest monitor, 75.7 percent of the country's arable land was fit for farming.

However, the China Meteorological Administration forecast last week that drought would persist in northern China in April amid scant rain.

As of March 26, a five-year high of 19.4 million ha of arable land had been affected by drought, including 3.3 million ha of cropland, mainly in the northeastern and northwestern areas, according to the central Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

(China.org.cn, Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2008)

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