The Government of China will spend $1 billion to tackle the drought afflicting huge areas in the north of the country.
According to China Daily, wheat prices in China continues to climb and the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization has warned of serious consequences for the winter harvest.
The State Council said in a report Wednesday that the Chinese government will spend about 6.7 billion Yuan ($1 billion) to divert water to affected areas, construct emergency walls and the other irrigation facilities and take care of possible measures.
The drought is worse in six decades in China’s history and threatens to stretch into Spring as Meteorologists forecast that rains are not expected soon.
The report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also issued a warning over the impact on the winter wheat crop. The situation in the regions could become critical if temperatures dropped further this month and a spring drought followed the winter one, according to the FAO. FAO also mentioned that wheat prices in China have been rapidly rising in the last few months and the average flour rates in the country rose more than eight percent in January.
Wheat is generally grown in the north, while rice is primarily cultivated in the wetter south. The State Council also decided to pay crop-growers higher prices for their produce to offset damage to their yield in the drought-stricken areas.
According to the report, the State Council warned the situation could worsen, saying rainfall across northern China for the foreseeable future would remain persistently below normal levels and major rivers will continue to be generally dry.
Eight major grain-producing provinces, including Shandong, Jiangsu, Henan, Hebei and Shanxi, have been affected. Together they produce more than 80 percent of China’s winter wheat.
However, Chinese agricultural experts believe it is still too early to predict a decrease in the country’s wheat output.
“We can still expect wheat harvest if these regions have sufficient rainfall next month,” Lu Bu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told China Daily.
Further, the central government also has plans to allocate 1.2 billion Yuan to subsidize the purchase of anti-drought technologies for winter wheat-growing regions.