There have been big temperatures drops in the drought-hit areas of northern China. The rain and snow may help to ease the drought, but the freezing weather could hurt wheat crops in the region. Efforts are now underway to protect the crops not just from the drought but also from the cold.
Cold air has brought rain and snow to the drought-hit areas. But the lower temperatures are also threatening the wheat crops.
Experts with the Ministry of Agriculture say that wheat tends to be fairly resistant to the cold, but with the biggest drought in decades, this year's crop is more fragile than usual. And they warn the cold weather in addition to the drought could kill the wheat.
But it's too early to write off this year's wheat harvest. Measures can still be taken in time to protect it from the frost. The Ministry also said that China has had five consecutive bumper harvests, so the grain reserves are large enough to cope with any situation.
Local agriculture departments have been asked to monitor the weather closely, and implement emergency backup plans if necessary. Authorities are also urging farmers to take appropriate action according to different weather conditions.
(CCTV February 18, 2009)