Drought hits China food production: Xinhua

Reuters
Uighur farmers hoe their farmlands to prepare for growing potatoes in Barkol Kazahk Autonomous county
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Uighur farmers hoe their farmlands to prepare for growing potatoes in Barkol Kazahk Autonomous county, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region May 4, 2014. REUTERS/China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters) - Severe drought and scorching heat has damaged over a million hectares of farmland in China's Henan and Inner Mongolia provinces, with no immediate relief in sight, state news agency Xinhua reported.

Henan in central China is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years with precipitation at less than half of normal levels, the agency said. Some 900,000 hectares of crops have been damaged, it said.

Henan is a big producer of food crops, including soybeans, barley and rice. In some regions of the province, governments have shut off water supply to businesses such as commercial swimming pools and bath houses, while water intensive industries have been asked to restrict usage, Xinhua said.

In Inner Mongolia, a drought ongoing since April has affected 150,000 hectares of farmland and 16.4 million hectares of pastures, while robbing 300,000 people of drinking water, said Xinhua.

The Inner Mongolia drought was estimated to have cost 229 million yuan ($37 million) so far.

(Reporting by Stian Reklev; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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