Rain, snow may eat into China's grain harvest

Shenyang (China Daily/ANN) - Excessive rain and snow in Northeast China - the country's main grain-growing area - has delayed spring plowing by about 10 days, with some doubting that the country will achieve yet another increase in its grain harvest this year.

By Wednesday, 66.323 million mu (4.4 million hectares) of farmland had been ploughed, accounting for only 40 percent of the planned acreage, Heilongjiang Daily reported on Thursday.

In the worst-case scenario, reduced grain production will drive up China's food prices, increase the inflation rate in the second half of the year, and cause food prices to surge in the global market, analysts said.

Provinces in Northeast China have been hit with excessive rain since last autumn. In Heilongjiang province alone, the rainfall volume from Sept 1 to Nov 1 reached 151 millimeters, 70 percent higher than the average amount in previous years.

By March 28, the average winter precipitation in Heilongjiang province stood at 53.2 millimeters, 109 percent higher than the historical average, a record in 50 years, according to the province's meteorological bureau.

Local government and media in Heilongjiang said that more than 5.3 million hectares of farmland was waterlogged, and conditions in 3.2 million hectares of land were "serious" in the province.

"We are two to three weeks behind the usual time to plow the land and plant the seeds," said Yu Zhiwen, a 59-year-old farmer in Suihua, Heilongjiang.

Yu runs a plot of farmland with less than 3 hectares. Water in his plot reaches his ankles, making it inaccessible to either machines or farmers.

"The pump does not work. All we can do is wait for the weather to warm up and for the water to evaporate," Yu said.

Yu has a family of five, and all of his household's income comes from the land. In previous years, the land could produce at least 7,500 kilograms of corn per hectare, but he only expects about half of that amount this year.

In 2012, China's northeastern provinces accounted for 23 percent of the country's grain production, 15 percent of its rice and 43 percent of its corn, official data showed.

"Corn in Northeast China is only harvested once a year, so a late ploughing means a shorter growing period, and this will affect yields," said Feng Lichen, president of Yumi.com.cn, a corn industry website.

"If the bad weather continues, the impact on this year's corn output will be huge," Feng said.

The local government and the Ministry of Agriculture said they are still assessing the losses caused by the rain, and they declined to reveal further details.

Meanwhile, analysts said that they feel "pessimistic" about the prospects of China achieving yet another bumper harvest.

And given the country's huge demand for corn, a reduced output would trigger price increases in the global food market.

"We expected to see a bumper corn harvest in the world this year, but if China suffers any losses in yields, corn prices in the global market will surge," said Ma Wenfeng, a senior analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant.

Ma also said the government could face growing inflation pressure in the second half of the year, as a reduced grain harvest would drive up food prices in the domestic and global markets.

"This will likely make the government tighten up monetary policies in the last few months of this year," Ma added.

China's grain output reached 589 million metric tons in 2012, the ninth consecutive year of increased grain harvests, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The country is the world's second-largest corn consumer after the United States. In 2012, corn imports to China jumped nearly two-fold to 5.2 million metric tons. Most of the imported corn came from the US.

Zhou Huiying in Heilongjiang and Han Junhong in Jilin contributed to this story.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR, BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early 70s …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during one …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

  • Miriam pushes tougher graft law
    Miriam pushes tougher graft law

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would make public officials liable for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act even if they are elected to a fresh term or a new position. In filing Senate Bill 2716, Santiago sought to address what she said was the doctrine of condonation in Philippine jurisprudence brought about by the 2010 case of Salumbides vs. Ombudsman. “By merely asserting the doctrine of condonation, erring elective officials are automatically given a …

  • Phl hits back at China over sea infra work
    Phl hits back at China over sea infra work

    The Philippines assailed China yesterday for contesting Manila’s planned repair and maintenance works on some islands in the West Philippine Sea, saying they are “in no way comparable” to the Asian power’s massive reclamation activities which are in violation of international laws. “The Philippines’ possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines rightfully exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options