Frequent droughts posing potential threat to food security in China

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Beijing, Feb.18 (ANI): The increase in frequency and severity of droughts in China in recent times, has posed a potential threat to food security, causing heavy crop losses.

"Catastrophic drought occurred once every five years in the 1950s and once every two years in the 1990s. But in the past 10 years it's been almost every year," said Li Maosong, Director of the Agricultural Information Office at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS).

The constant dry spell in northern China's wheat heartland is a major cause of international concern.

The United Nations has also issued a warning stating a possible loss of winter crops for China this year.

Drought conditions are currently prevailing in North China, resulting in a shortage of water supply in South China.

According to CAAS statistics, the amount of cultivable land affected by natural disasters has increased by nearly five million hectares in the past decade.

The CAAS statistics show the total grain loss from various natural disasters has reached 303.35 million tonnes between 2003and 2009 and Chinese water resources Ministry's statistics show the grain loss caused solely by drought during this period was 185.38 million tonnes.

Li says that a five-year program has been launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology this year to protect crops, which will be introduced in 500,000 hectares of farmland and includes planting disaster-resistant crops in order to reduce losses.

By 2020, China plans to boost grain output to more than 550 million tonnes annually to feed its growing population. (ANI)

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