Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Agriculture

Floods in China’s northeast raise concerns of crop diseases and infestation

August 16, 2023 4:34 PM IST

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On Wednesday, China warned that the recent floods in its grain-producing northeast region could worsen diseases and infestations. Due to this, Beijing has called on for more measures to protect its crop. The country’s agricultural ministry has issued a statement saying that the recent floods could potentially worsen diseases and pest infestations, posing a threat to crop yields. As of now, the impact of diseases and pests on autumn grain production remains “relatively light”, according to the agricultural ministry’s statement. However, the ministry has raised concerns that the flooding might exacerbate the prevalence of diseases affecting vital crops such as corn, rice, and soybeans.

Due to storms from Typhoons Doksuri and Khanun, China is experiencing heavy rainfall and flooding in northern and northeastern regions in recent weeks. The ministry said that this extreme weather, if unchecked, may lead to severe infestations targeting key crops like cotton, corn, and soybean in certain areas. For example, the northern armyworm has been found in 136,000 mu (9066.7 hectares) in Keyou Middle Banner, Xingan League, Inner Mongolia, of which an area of 20,000 mu (1333.3 hectares) was severely affected, it added.

In response to the impending threat, on Tuesday, a meeting was convened in the northeastern Heilongjiang province to address the prevention and control of major autumn grain diseases and pests. Heilongjiang, often referred to as China’s “great northern granary”, has witnessed nearly 2% of its sown area, approximately 3.87 million mu (258,000 hectares), being affected by the recent rains, as per state broadcaster.

Despite these challenges, the agricultural ministry has maintained the 2023/24 corn output estimate steady at 282.34 million metric tons, even though it said some producing areas had been flooded.

China’s Vice Premier, Liu Guozhong, emphasised, on Monday, the urgent need to repair damaged farmland, restore water conservation systems, and rectify other essential infrastructure issues to ensure a swift recovery in grain production.

As China continues to navigate the complex interplay of extreme weather, disease threats, and crop protection measures, the nation’s ability to manage these challenges will play a pivotal role in ensuring a stable food supply and sustaining its agricultural sector.

With climate change not just China but various other nations are also facing menace of extreme weather. The wildfires in Hawaii are other such example. Though, wildfires are not new to Hawaii but with every passing year they are becoming increasingly dangerous and destroying. If these threats are not addressed, and warning and rescue systems are not updated, then it will be difficult for authorities to tackle challenges that are surely going to come with these weather atrocities.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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