China’s Li Repeats Call to Boost Harvest After Summer Floods

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(Bloomberg) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reiterated the importance of ensuring stable agricultural production after unrelenting rains and floods across southern provinces reignited food security concerns.

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The south is a major producing region for rice, fruits and vegetables. It also grows some corn. Heavy rainfall this month has flooded swaths of farmland in Guangxi, Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi and Fujian provinces. The weather bureau said this week that the wet conditions are not conducive for crop growth.

Erratic weather is adding to China’s farming challenges at a time when there’s heightened concern over food security due to rampant global inflation. While southern provinces are battling record rains, the north is seeing unusually high temperatures, threatening to hamper summer planting of corn and soybeans.

“Indica rice will make its way to the market in July and there will be some losses from the floods,” said Cherry Zhang, a grain analyst at consultancy Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. The impact on corn will be limited as the south isn’t a major producing region, she added.

Premier Li said on Wednesday that robust grain production is critical to ensuring stable consumer prices and improving food security, the official Xinhua reported, citing a state council meeting. China’s just wrapped up a wheat harvest with higher output and better grain quality than normal years.

The state council also said that local officials have responded to the heavy rainfall in southern regions “in a timely manner and made efforts to reduce losses.” With more extreme weather events expected this year, the council urged authorities to strengthen flood control and drought relief measures.

(Updates with analyst comment in fourth paragraph)

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