As harvest time looms, China tells farmers to replant or switch crops

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NANCHANG, China, Aug. 25 (Reuters) – As the record heatwave in China begins to ease, farmers are assessing the damage caused by a prolonged drought and the government is urging them to replant or change crops where possible.

More than 70 days of extreme temperatures and little rain have wreaked havoc along the Yangtze River Basin, which supports more than 450 million people as well as a third of the country’s crops.

Although rain is expected in the next 10 days, farmers near depleted Poyang Lake in central China’s Jiangxi province, normally a flood channel for the Yangtze, worry that the heat has already done too much damage.

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The Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday called on farmers to harvest and store rice and take action to boost grain growth in the coming weeks. In areas where drought has already wreaked havoc, farmers are encouraged to switch to late fall crops, such as sweet potatoes, but it’s no easy feat.

“We can’t switch to other crops because there is no land,” said Hu Baolin, a 70-year-old farmer in a village on the outskirts of Nanchang, Jiangxi’s provincial capital.

He said his plants, which included canola oil and sesame, were much less developed compared to normal years, and that his pomelos were only a third of their usual size.

Nearby springs were severely depleted and a flock of geese milled around a pond that had dried up completely about 10 days ago. Villagers had also been fighting a forest fire nearby.

“Don’t let people see it and think I brought you here on purpose. You can go wherever you want (in this village), it’s all the same.”

The Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday that the warm weather posed a “serious threat” to grain production in the fall and urged local governments to “do everything possible” to find more water. read more

Drones were deployed on Thursday in southwestern China’s worst-hit Sichuan province to sow clouds and cause rain, while other regions along the Yangtze have mobilized firefighters to spray dried-out crops, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Analysts saw rice production as the most vulnerable.

“I think the biggest impact of the heat wave will be on the rice crop – maize has problems too, but not that many,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agricultural brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney.

China, the world’s largest rice consumer and importer, is expected to import a record 6 million tons by 2022/23, according to estimates by the US Department of Agriculture.

POWER EXTENDED

Southwest Chongqing and Sichuan provinces are reeling after more than two weeks of temperatures exceeding 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) – leading to crop damage, wildfires and power rationing. read more

Chongqing factories were originally ordered to cut production from August 17 to 24 to save power, but the curbs have now been extended and normal operation will not resume until weather conditions improve and authorities approve restarts. read more

Although national forecasters have lowered their heat warning level from “red” to “orange” as of Tuesday, temperatures in some places in Chongqing, neighboring Sichuan and other parts of the Yangtze Delta are still expected to rise above the weekend until the weekend. 40C come out.

The low rainfall has also impacted the lower reaches of the Yangtze, including Zhejiang and Jiangsu on the east coast.

The water level at Lake Tai, sandwiched between the two provinces, has fallen to its lowest point in 20 years, despite the diversion of 500 million cubic meters of Yangtze River since mid-July, the Ministry of Water Resources said Thursday.

China’s Water Ministry said on Aug. 11 that the drought had already affected nearly 33 million mu (22,000 square kilometers) of arable land and 350,000 livestock, but the final impact is likely to be much greater.

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Reporting by Xiaoyu Yin and Thomas Peter in Nanchang and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Additional coverage by the Beijing editors; Written by David Stanway; Edited by Lincoln Feast, Tom Hogue and Elaine Hardcastle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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