Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Severe Drought in China affects wheat crop

There is an extremely severe drought affecting China right now, as you can see below, which will further exacerbate the upcoming food shortages. You may not realize, I sure didn't know, that China is the world's leading producer of wheat.

Northern and central China have had little precipitation since November. Many places have not had rainfall for more than 100 days. In the drought, more than 4.3 million residents face a shortage of drinking water, as do two million livestock, officials said The drought has hit at least 12 provinces, including the wheat-producing areas in Henan, Anhui and Shandong provinces. Chinese media says the total area affected has reached 1,370 million hectares (3,385 million acres).

Over the weekend, Chinese soldiers loaded rockets with cloud-seeding chemicals and fired them into the sky over drought-stricken areas in the effort to produce rain. Over the long term, China plans to divert water from its two longest rivers to drought-stricken areas. However, it is still going to be difficult to get water to mountainous areas and remote farmland. Many farms in China rely on rain, because irrigation systems are poor. Some places are getting 80 percent less rain than they normally do, according to the Flood Control and Drought Relief Office.

U.S. wheat futures extended gains on Friday, supported by a drought in China that has threatened the crop and prompted the government to declare an emergency in key wheat-growing areas of the country. "One of the reasons it made those gains yesterday and today is the announcement from China regarding the severity of drought which I think is going to tighten the global wheat balance sheet for 2009 and 2010."

China, the world's largest producer of wheat, has declared an emergency over a drought which could damage its important wheat crop, threatening further hardship for farmers amid slumping economic growth. The absence of rain or snow since November has affected 9.5 million hectares of farmland -- 37,000 square miles, or 43 percent of the winter wheat sources.

As the world's top consumer of wheat, China has bought Australian, British and U.S. grain in recent months because of lower international prices and the nation could tap the international market again.


No comments:

Post a Comment