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China's Agriculture Ministry Takes Action to Salvage Damaged Wheat Crop

The excessive rain has caused sprouting in some wheat fields in southern Henan, rendering the crop unfit for consumption.

Shivam Dwivedi
China's Agriculture Ministry Takes Action to Salvage Damaged Wheat Crop (Photo Credit: Pixabay)
China's Agriculture Ministry Takes Action to Salvage Damaged Wheat Crop (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

China's agriculture ministry has issued a plea to local authorities, urging them to expedite the harvesting and drying process for damaged grain. The move comes after heavy rainfall inundated fields of ripe wheat in the country's key agricultural region.

The ministry released a statement on Tuesday, May 30 advising authorities to deploy emergency teams to drain water from fields, accelerate access for harvesters, and mobilize drying machinery in a race against time to salvage as much of the crop as possible.

To further combat the effects of the downpour, the ministry suggested utilizing various spaces such as town squares or playgrounds, as well as the front and back areas of houses, to dry and harvest the wheat in order to prevent sprouting and mold.

China, renowned as the world's largest wheat grower, had initially anticipated a bumper crop this year. However, the recent heavy rainfall across the southern half of central Henan province has raised concerns over the outcome.

In 2021, Henan province accounted for 28% of China's total wheat production of 137 million tonnes. Darin Friedrichs, the co-founder of Sitonia Consulting based in Shanghai, highlighted that it was still too early to determine the extent of the impact on output. He stated that the harvest was definitely going to be affected and mentioned that the harvest had just been ramping up, with some areas experiencing 400% precipitation anomalies over the past 10 days.

A local harvester reported that over 90% of the wheat in the vicinity of Nanyang City has sprouted, referring to a county in the southern part of the province. Additionally, Zhumadian County has also been adversely affected.

The sprouted wheat is being purchased by buyers at around 1,000 to 1,200 yuan (USD 144.67 to USD 173.61) per tonne, which is only half the normal price, said an anonymous source, citing the sensitivity of the issue. As a result of the lower quality supply, the spot wheat price in Zhengzhou dropped by 1.5% to 2,700 yuan on Monday.

Reports from the state-backed media outlet indicates that sprouted wheat is also being observed in northern Shandong province. The agriculture ministry has urged buyers to acquire sprouted wheat for use in animal feed or industrial purposes, while ensuring that it does not enter the food supply chain.

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