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.

  • China says Philippines violating South China Sea code

    China has accused the Philippines of violating a 13-year-old informal code of conduct in the South China Sea with its building work on disputed islets, firing back again after repeated criticism of China's own construction work. China and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed an agreement in 2002 to refrain from occupying uninhabited reefs and shoals in the sea, and from building new structures that would complicate disputes. In a statement released just before …

  • NCCA plans to conduct mapping of Pag-Asa Island
    NCCA plans to conduct mapping of Pag-Asa Island

    The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) plans to send researchers to conduct a cultural mapping of Pag-Asa Island, which is part of Philippine-held territories in the disputed Spratlys in the West Philippine Sea. Harold Rentoria, NCCA committee on cultural heritage commissioner, admitted that since two years ago they have been thinking of going to Pag-Asa Island for their cultural mapping project. Cultural mapping is part of the NCCA program Taoid – the Ilocano word for …

  • No CNN interview for senators in ‘pork’ scam
    No CNN interview for senators in ‘pork’ scam

    Cable News Network (CNN) Philippines has been denied a chance to interview detained Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada, a Sandiganbayan justice said yesterday. Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang told The STAR CNN’s request for an interview with the lawmakers, who are being held without bail at Camp Crame, will not be allowed as such may violate a rule preventing parties to an ongoing trial from discussing the merits of the case. CNN Philippines had …

  • Tropical depression intensifies into storm
    Tropical depression intensifies into storm

    The tropical depression expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday has intensified into a storm, the state weather bureau said yesterday. Noul, which will be locally named Dodong once it enters the Philippines, packed winds of 75 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph. …

  • PNP to car buyers: Demand LTO plates
    PNP to car buyers: Demand LTO plates

    Those who plan to buy new cars should make sure their car dealers give them their Land Transportation Office plates as soon as possible to avoid being targeted by car thieves, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday. Senior Superintendent Arnold Gunnacao, director of the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG), said car theft syndicates are particularly interested in stealing brand new sport utility vehicles (SUVs) with conduction stickers serving as temporary license plates. …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Indonesia and Philippines end losing streak

    JAKARTA, May 4 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets traded mixed on Monday with stocks in Indonesia and Philippines rebounding after a recent bout of weakness. The Indonesian stock index closed up ... …

  • 2 coast guard men, village chief, abducted in Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Police say gunmen clad in military uniform have abducted two Philippine coast guard personnel and a village chief on a southern island then sped away in two motorboats. …

  • Filipino on US most wanted list killed: rebels, military
    Filipino on US most wanted list killed: rebels, military

    A Filipino on the United States' list of most wanted "terrorists" has been killed in a firefight in the southern Philippines, Muslim rebel leaders and the military said Monday. Abdul Basit Usman was killed in a remote mountainous area while being escorted by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the nation's biggest rebel group, its vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar said. Security forces had been hunting Usman since he escaped from a January police raid that killed Malaysian …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options