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GIEWS Update-detail
FAO/GIEWS Global Watch

29 February 2008

Severe Winter Weather Damages Winter-Spring Crops in Southern China and in Northern Viet Nam


Since 10 January, some 20 provinces of southern China have suffered from disastrous cold, ice, and snow. Some 100 million people are officially estimated to have been affected. The most severely impacted crops include rapeseed, vegetables, and fruits. In addition, some 190,000 hectares of winter wheat were severely damaged. According to China’s Ministry of Agriculture, the affected rapeseed area is estimated at 3.26 million hectares (410,000 hectares of which are completely lost) accounting for 48.4% of national rapeseed area. Direct economic losses are estimated at 100 billion yuan (US $13.8 billion). China is the world’s largest importer of oilseeds; in 2007, the country imported 30.8 million tonnes of soybeans and 833,173 tonnes of rapeseed.

Viet Nam

Unusually cold weather has been sweeping through the upland areas near the Viet Nam-China border since January 14th , making it a record-long cold spell. About 150,000 hectares of rice have been destroyed, with a loss of about US$25 million. In the central province of Thanh Hoa, half of the rice area has also been lost (45,000 hectares). Other severely affected areas include Nghe An province and Hai Phong city.

It is estimated that various affected localities will need 21,000 tons of rice seeds to replant crops in all damaged areas. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has confirmed that there should be sufficient water for the winter-spring crops, but that planting could be delayed until March 10th or later. Despite damage to the rice crop in the North, Viet Nam, the world’s second largest rice exporter, still aims to export 4 to 4.5 million tonnes of rice in 2008, the same level as last year.

In addition, about 60,000 cattle have died, of which 75 percent were young calves and young buffaloes. Damage to the livestock sector totals about US $11.2 million.