Heatwaves and drought threaten autumn crops in China

 China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has warned citizens of an unprecedented heatwave and drought, which are posing a threat to the autumn harvest.

On Tuesday, August 23, the weather bureau renewed an orange national drought alert – the second-highest level – and the forecast showed continued high temperatures of 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas.

In a notice, the Agriculture Ministry stated that authorities should issue alerts for high temperatures promptly and take targeted measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the hot weather on autumn grain output.

Authorities are trying to make sure that there is enough water supply for crops like rice and soybeans, which are at a critical growth stage. They also noted that more efforts should be made to ensure there is adequate irrigation water by opening up new water sources, staggering rotation of irrigation and producing artificial rainfall when necessary.

Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Tang Renjian told officials that they should ensure the supply and use cloud seeding to generate rain if necessary to reduce the impact of the heatwave and drought on the crops.

China’s crop losses to exacerbate supply crunch

Even Pay, an analyst at Trivium China who specializes in agriculture, said an immediate concern was for fresh produce. Fresh vegetables are least likely to be in a major irrigation area and not likely to be strategically prioritized in a national push to protect grain and oil feeds.

Crop losses would hit supply chains and exacerbate supply problems as the food supply, which was often grown close to a Chinese city, would have to be sourced from farther away and could rot on longer journeys.

The concerns were mainly domestic, and categories of food that would affect the global markets were “keeping pretty safe.” However, she said attention should be paid to rapeseed as the drought continues and crops are planted in the autumn.

Moreover, China is now relying heavily on its own corn production as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine destabilized global food supplies.

Pay was relatively optimistic about the measures announced, as they call for tailored local solutions. The order to divert water sources could help areas where water is inaccessible, and subsidies have also been announced.

With continuous heat warnings and dry season water levels, the conditions in China are extreme, and Pay said there is no question that there will be some loss of crops.

The notice released on Tuesday emphasized that it came from the highest levels of government, which Pay said is a really important signal to localities that there is a very high degree of political will behind the push to do anything and everything possible to support farmers and to ensure that the crops can be saved. 

It is also a sign of the pressure on China’s Communist Party to avoid food price hikes and inflation.

“What’s happening this summer is going to be the base case for what a climate emergency looks like, and we’re likely to see a lot of policy research and redesign … and a lot more attention around water availability,” Pay said.

Heatwaves and drought threaten autumn crops in China Heatwaves and drought threaten autumn crops in China Reviewed by Your Destination on August 26, 2022 Rating: 5

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