Drought threatens wheat and rapeseed production in China

Updated: 2008-03-22 15:32

BEIJING - Wheat and rapeseed production in north China are under threat from severe drought.

"We are facing the most severe challenges in spring farming in recent years," said the Ministry of Agriculture here on Friday.

Since the beginning of 2008, the average rainfall has been 5.5 mm in northern China's Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces, Inner Mongolia, Hebei province, Beijing and Tianjin, less than half the average, and the lowest since 1951, said the China Meteorology Center.

After the summer drought last year, the scarce rainfall and high temperature in Heilongjiang Province has caused the most serious drought in more than two decades, it said, and it coincides with the key period for spring farming.

Farming material prices have been climbing, with seed and fertilizer prices rising 10 percent in February. Some provinces even reported lack of fertilizer supply caused by disrupted transportation and manufacturing of southern fertilizer producers during the snow havoc.

Minister of Agriculture Sun Zhengcai said China would endeavor to guarantee food security, adding that the supply would be from domestic food production, but China would also use the international market.

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