May 31, 2023
Heavy rain in China's Henan province floods wheat fields ahead of harvest
Wheat fields in China's central Henan province have been hit by heavy rain just days before the harvest, leading to price increases and concerns about the quality of this year's crop in the world's largest consumer of wheat, Channel News Asia reported.
Videos shared on social media and reports from a local grain dealer indicate that the rain, which began last week in the southern half of Henan, has caused some of the wheat to sprout or be affected by blight.
A grain dealer named Li said that wheat is still unharvested and already sprouting.
Despite expectations of a bumper crop this year, with officials estimating a harvest at least as large as last year's, the flooding is raising worries about the quality of the wheat.
Videos on China's Douyin platform showed fields in the city of Zhumadian covered in water, and blackened wheat kernels, a sign of blight.
Wheat affected by Fusarium head blight poses a risk of toxins and cannot be used for animal feed, according to Jan Cortenbach, technical manager at Wellhope Foods.
The rain has had some impact on prices, supporting them to some extent. But the full extent of the impact will only become clear once the rain subsides.
The price of wheat in the capital city of Henan, Zhengzhou, rose by 2% last week, reaching CNY 2,740 (~US$396.41; CNY 1 = US$0.14) per tonne on Friday. The China Meteorological Administration has forecasted more rain for the upcoming weekend in western Henan.
To mitigate the situation, the Henan government has pledged to accelerate the wheat harvest by facilitating the transport of harvesters and drying equipment to farms, as reported by the Henan Daily, a provincial newspaper.
- Channel News Asia