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Severe, prolonged drought threatens food security in western China
Over 60 percent of winter wheat crops lost in worst-hit areas
15 May 2006, Rome - Several provinces in western and northern China are facing food shortages due to a prolonged drought that has left hundreds of reservoirs dry and tens of thousands of wells either dry or nearly empty, FAO said today.

According to a new FAO alert, five million hectares of winter crops are estimated to have been lost or damaged as a result of inadequate rainfall and higher temperatures, and the areas planted in spring crops have been reduced substantially. The worst-affected provinces are Yunnan, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, and Hebei.

The drought in Ningxia started in 2004, and some districts have not received significant rainfall for more than 600 days. In the worst-hit districts, over 60 percent of winter wheat crops were reported as totally lost, with a 40-50 percent reduction in output in the remaining areas. Out of 940 000 hectares of planned spring crops, only around 30 percent were planted.

In Hebei Province, over 2 million hectares of agricultural land have been severely affected by two consecutive drought seasons, and the level of groundwater has fallen by 0.6 metres.

The affected areas are among China’s poorest regions, with 2004 per capita annual incomes of rural households of $227 in Yunnan, $226 in Gansu, and $283 in Ningxia. Over half of rural households live under the poverty line and have limited access to food.

The drought will have a serious impact on vulnerable groups, particularly in affected mountain areas, where there are few alternative sources of income. Rural populations, including elementary school children in Ningxia, have reportedly reduced the number of daily meals from three to two, according to the FAO alert.


Contact:
Teresa Buerkle
Information Officer, FAO
teresamarie.buerkle@fao.org
(+39) 06 570 56146
(+39) 348 14 16 671

Contact:

Teresa Buerkle
Information Officer, FAO
teresamarie.buerkle@fao.org
(+39) 06 570 56146
(+39) 348 141 6671

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Severe, prolonged drought threatens food security in western China
Over 60 percent of winter wheat crops lost in worst-hit areas
15 May 2006 - Several provinces in western and northern China are facing food shortages due to a prolonged drought that has left hundreds of reservoirs dry and tens of thousands of wells either dry or nearly empty.
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