Heavy rains threaten rice crop in latest weather worry

BEIJING: Heavy rains could flood some rice fields in southern China this week, threatening output of the most-consumed staple grain in the country.

Torrential rains, brought by Typhoon Haikui, are expected to hit parts of Fujian, Guangdong and southern Jiangxi provinces later yesterday to Thursday, potentially inundating rice and vegetable crops, the National Meteorological Centre said.

The deluge would be the latest in a raft of bouts of extreme weather that have hit China this summer, with flooding in the north causing dozens of fatalities and devastating crops.

The threat to rice comes as shipment curbs by top exporter India and extreme weather tighten supplies globally, with prices in Asia jumping near to the highest level in almost 15 years. Any significant output cut in China, the biggest grower and importer, could cause turmoil in an already rattled market.

Heavy rains in August flooded some rice fields in the north-eastern region, though a full picture of the damage remains unclear.

China harvested a bigger early rice crop this season, despite extreme weather in June, according to the country’s statistics bureau.

In other parts of the nation, cold snaps are expected to hit the north-eastern region and northern Hebei province, threatening to slow maturity of fall grain crops and further increase soil moisture of fields flooded earlier. — Bloomberg

Drought afflicting the northwestern areas, especially Gansu province, has reduced the number of kernels in corn cobs, and left many bare at the top. Though some rains are expected in the next 10 days, they won’t help the crops much, the weather bureau also said in the report.

Gansu is the biggest corn-seed production base in China, accounting for almost half of the national output. - Bloomberg

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