KUNMING - Rare drought has seriously cut down fresh flower output in Yunnan province, China's largest fresh flower production and export base, driving up market prices, the provincial flower industry office said Saturday.
About 31,000 hectares, or 80 percent of the province's total flower fields, were short of irrigation. About 10,853 hectares were damaged and 1,627 hectares were left with no harvest, according to the office.
The drought has incurred 854 million yuan ($125 million) in direct economic loss in the sector, statistics from the office showed.
Yunnan provides nearly 80 percent of all fresh flower sales in the domestic market. Many cities across the country have reported nearly a 100 percent price rise and a remarkable drop in supplies this year.
Average wholesale price for a rose hit 2 yuan in the first two months of the year at the Dounan Flower Market, doubling the price at the same period of last year. The market, in Kunming, capital of Yunnan, is China's largest flower wholesale center.
The drought, which wreaks havoc in Yunnan, is likely to be the worst one in a century. It has left nearly 8 million people short of drinking water and cutting by half the harvests of many economic plants including fruits, tea, rubber, coffee and flower.
In the neighboring Guizhou province, the drought has cut irrigation for 830,000 hectares of cropland and affected almost 17.28 million people, including 5.57 million suffering water shortages, according to the Guizhou provincial government.
More than 3.1 million impoverished population in the rural area are short of grain supply due to poor spring harvest.
The situation is expected to worsen in summer if the drought keeps cutting down grain output, said Zhen Yanchi, vice director with the Guizhou civil affairs administration.
The province has reported 2.88 billion yuan in direct economic loss triggered by the drought.
China's State Commission of Disaster Relief said Friday that severe drought has affected 51 million Chinese and left more than 16 million people and 11 million livestock with drinking water shortages.
Since autumn last year, southwest China, including Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chongqing municipality, has received only half its annual average rainfall and water stores are depleted.