Despite natural disasters, grain harvest looks good

09:02, July 17, 2010      

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The Ministry of Agriculture assured on Friday of a good harvest for the whole year despite a drop in the summer grain output due to severe floods and droughts in the south and southwest of the country.

The output of grain harvested this summer fell for the first time in seven years, hitting 123.1 million tons, which is 390,000 tons less than last year, according to the latest information from the National Bureau of Statistics.

This file photo shows a farmer cutting paddy rice during a harvest season in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. The output of grain harvested this summer fell for the first time in seven years, hitting 123.1 million tons, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. (Yu Xiangquan / for China Daily)

However, winter wheat, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the country's total wheat output, hit 108.8 million tons this year, about 1 million tons more than last year, despite extreme weather conditions, like lower temperature this spring and heavy snow before summer, said Chen Mengshan, spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture.

The acreage planted with autumn grains, including corn, was higher than last year and crops were growing better so far this year than in 2009, he added.

Chen said the total wheat output in China, the world's biggest wheat grower, is likely to hit 115 million tons this year, the seventh consecutive year to record an increase since 2003.

"The annual wheat consumption was about 105 million tons and this year's wheat output can ensure sufficient supply," Chen told a press conference organized by the State Council Information Office.

The recent floods and landslides triggered by torrential rain have damaged about 1.9 million hectares of farmland, of which 252,800 hectares faced total crop failure, between July 1 and July 13, Ministry of Civil Affairs statistics show.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the total grain yield of China's three main crops - rice, wheat and corn - was 470.27 million tons in 2008, only 17.29 percent of which came from the disaster-stricken areas.

Early this year, a severe drought that hit five provinces in Southwest China had affected nearly 5.3 million hectares of arable land, about 86 percent of the country's total affected, according to statistics from the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

The drought was the main reason for the drop in the summer grain output, which in Guizhou and Yunnan provinces was down 1.69 million tons, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement on its official website on Monday.

China plans to guarantee its grain output this year, hitting at least 500 million tons and increasing farmers' incomes by 6 percent.

Source:China Daily


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