Another good harvest of summer grain expected
China is expected to have another harvest of summer grain this year if no major natural disasters take place in following days, agriculture officials said Wednesday.
The harvest of summer grain will lay a solid foundation for the fulfillment of this year's plan for more grain output, following last year's bumper harvest that put an end to the continuous decline for seven years in a row.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, China produced 469.5 billion kg of grain last year, an increase of 38.8 billion kg from the previous year.
Summer grain plays a critical role in a year's grain production in China. In the north where wheat, planted in autumn and harvested in summer, is the decisive factor of the year's cereal yield. In the south, where rice is the staple food, summer grain harvested in June usually plays a major role in stabilizing grain prices driven up by a short supply of stored grain in April and May due to seasonal reasons.
This year, the total acreage sown to grain crops was 667,000 hectares more than last year, said ministry officials, who did not give figures for how much more grain would be yielded this year.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization issued a prediction three months ago that China's grain output this year would likely grow 11 percent.
In Henan Province, the output of summer grain was estimated at 25.2 million tons this year, the same as the highest level in history, said Zhang Guangzhi, head of the provincial agriculture department.
Henan in central China is one of the country's major grain production bases.
Anhui Province, another leading grain producer, also expected to reach last year's record with a predicted grain output of 8.4 million tons this summer.
The list of provinces with a harvest of summer grain in sight also covers Liaoning in the northeast and Guizhou in the southwest.
The increase in grain production was attributed to the government's policies to encourage farmers to grow grain crops.
Yin Erhu, a farmer of Xiawang Village, Henan Province, said, "In the past, farmers had to pay tax for farming. But now, the government has not only rescinded farming tax but also subsidizes agricultural production. Then who wouldn't do his most to plant crops?"
Wei Zhongsheng, chief economist of the provincial agriculture department of Henan, shared the view, saying the government preferential policies had helped farmers to improve field management in the wake of wide spread of natural disasters, including freeze injury, drought, diseases and insect pests.
The Chinese government last year announced to stop collecting agricultural tax, amid other policies to support agricultural production. This year, both the central and local governments continued to take new measures, including raising subsidies for production of improved wheat species from 100 million yuan (12.1 million US dollars) to one billion yuan (120.8 million US dollars).
Science and technology is another factor behind the increase ofgrain production. The Ministry of Agriculture said that this spring, a total of 130,000 technicians went to villages to provide technical training for 13 million farmers.
With their help, farmland sown to high-quality wheat amounted to 10.7 million hectares nationwide, 18.5 percent more than last year.
With the harvest of summer grain around the corner, the Ministry of Agriculture also called for efforts to rev up production of early rice and autumn grain, which account for a major part of a year's grain output.
Meanwhile, as there is a downward movement of wheat price in some provinces, experts warned if the purchasing price of wheat falls this year while the prices of means of agricultural production remain at a high level, farmer's enthusiasm would be dampened.