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Tea farms wither amid heatwaves in E China | Updated: 2013-08-13 09:25

Tea farms wither amid heatwaves in E China

A tea farmer irrigates tea plants at a tea plantation in Hangzhou city, capital of east China's Zhejiang province, Aug 11, 2013. Many tea plants have withered due to the continuous scorching weather and drought in the city. [Photo/Xinhua]

A prolonged drought and the persisting heatwaves have affected tea production in east China's Zhejiang province, one of the country's major tea plantation areas, agricultural authorities said on Friday.

The drought has hit 27,000 hectares of tea gardens across the province, said the Zhejiang Provincial Agricultural Department.

Tea farms in Hangzhou, Huzhou and Lishui cities were worst affected. In the plantation area of Longjing tea near the West Lake in Hangzhou, swathes of tea trees have withered because of drought, which will have a drastic impact on the output of the popular tea, according to the department.

From early July to Friday, the average rainfall has been only 58 mm in the province, down over 70 percent from the same period last year. Zhejiang has recorded about 40 days of high temperatures.

In Tonglu county, Hangzhou, some 40 hectares of tea farms have withered due to recent prolonged high temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius. It is estimated that tea output in the county will fall by 70 percent, according to local authorities.

"The persisting drought has greatly affected white tea production here," said Lai Jianhong, an official of the Anji county Agricultural Bureau.

More than 3,000 hectares of tea farms in Anji county have been affected by the extreme weather, with half suffering serious losses, said Lai.

The drought has affected many parts of east, central and south China, causing great losses to crops and bringing drinking water shortages to millions of people.

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