February 21, 2012
Northeast China's grain farms likely to face drought
China's agriculture ministry has called on the authorities in the country's northeast corn and soy regions to be fully prepared for a drought likely to hit in the spring planting period that may delay or damage harvest.
"Since autumn, rainfall in the northeast has been 30-80% less (than in normal years), which has reduced water supplies to rivers and led to a shortfall of water storage in reservoirs," the ministry said during a meeting with local government officials.
The ministry forecast a continued lack of rainfall in western parts of the northeast, while eastern areas may experience excessive rain and lower-than-normal temperatures when sowing starts in April and May.
The four northeastern provinces, which include Heilongjiang, the country's top soy area and Jilin, the main corn grower, produce about 23% of the country's total grains.
The local authorities should encourage farmers to expand grain acreages and in case plantings are delayed, they should boost supplies of early-mature seeds for farmers, the ministry said.
It also urged the authorities to help farmers adopt water-saving practices.