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China reaps more early season rice despite prolonged drought

(Xinhua)

10:36, August 31, 2011

BEIJING, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- China's annual output of early-season rice, which is mainly planted for reserves and industrial use, registered slight growth this year, a hard-won result thanks to improved yields amid drought, the statistics agency said on Tuesday.

Output hit 32.76 million tonnes, an increase of 4.5 percent from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement on its website.

The rise in output is the result of an improvement in yield per unit, although the planting area shrank 45,000 hectares, or 0.8 percent of the total from a year earlier, to 5.75 million hectares, the statement said.

More than 96 percent of China's early-season rice is planted in eastern Zhejiang Province, the central provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, and the southern provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Fujian, where severe drought hit.

Early-season rice, which is harvested every July after a 90-to-120-day maturity period, accounts for nearly 6 percent of China's total grain output.

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