Farmers in southern China scramble to ensure a safe crop harvest amid a typhoon

Photo taken on May 15, 2022 shows wheat harvests in the fields in Shenze County, north China’s Hebei Province. (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)

As Typhoon Chaba makes landfall in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guangdong Province, local farmers are rushing to harvest early-season rice while strengthening agricultural land to reduce damage. So far there has been limited impact on harvesting activities and measures to reduce losses are underway, farmers said on Sunday.

Despite a complex and challenging international environment that has led to soaring grain prices, China is able to ensure domestic grain security as the total cultivated area and sufficient stocks are increased, an expert said.

“The typhoon has done little damage to local agriculture so far, and the harvest volume for summer crops has reached higher levels year by year,” a farmer at Lianqiang Agricultural and Livestock Cooperative in Baise, Guangxi, told the Global Times on Sunday.

He said the occasional heavy rain and high winds could have some impact on tropical fruits like mango, but they’ve built additional supports for trees and production facilities and worked to ensure stormwater can be drained off immediately.

A representative surnamed Liu from the Jinhong Agricultural Cooperative, which grows rice in Shantou, Guangdong, told the Global Times on Sunday that only 10 percent of its grain crop has been harvested so far due to the heavy rains caused by the typhoon.

“In order to reduce the loss as much as possible, before the typhoon, our workers started working overtime to bring in the harvest,” Liu said, noting that they stacked the harvested rice in a dry warehouse to avoid rot .

The typhoon came as more than 866,000 hectares of early rice in Guangdong entered the harvest season, according to the province’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MOA) took swift action against the typhoon, urging local government authorities to minimize damage caused by the typhoon and ensure production can resume quickly.

The MOA urged to immediately increase the early season rice harvest while strengthening fruit trees, greenhouses and chicken coops and pig pens to reduce potential losses. In addition, the ministry said the adjustment and transportation of production materials such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides will be carried out to meet the needs of recovering production after a disaster.

“The typhoon only affects grain production in parts of southern China and will not lead to a large-scale reduction in production,” Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of industry news website, told the Global Times on Sunday.

China has increased the early-season rice cultivation area this year, and therefore the entire domestic supply of rice is guaranteed, Jiao said.

At a meeting of the State Council on June 22, it was noted that this year’s crop of spring wheat was record-breaking and of better quality than previous years. Coarse grain and haricot yields showed slight growth and rapeseed production had increased significantly.

Premier Li Keqiang said at the meeting that ensuring stable and higher grain production is a key measure to keep prices stable and enhance China’s food security capability, and it is also conducive to the stability of the global grain market.

China has attached great importance to food production and safety in recent years, with its grain output stabilizing at over 650 billion kilograms for seven consecutive years. This year, the country has committed to keeping grain production above the level as well.

“China has established a solid grain inventory system and emergency relief system to meet people’s needs when necessary,” Jiao said, noting that the country has sufficient wheat and rice stocks to meet domestic needs for a whole year be able.

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