February 12, 2011

China drought threatening food shortages

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization issued an alert Tuesday that a severe drought was threatening the wheat crop in China, the world’s largest wheat producer, and was even resulting in shortages of drinking water for people and livestock.

The state-run news media in China warned Monday that the country’s major agricultural regions were facing their worst drought in 60 years and said Tuesday that Shandong Province, a cornerstone of Chinese grain production, was bracing for its worst drought in 200 years unless substantial precipitation came by the end of this month.

World wheat prices are already surging and have been widely cited as one reason for protests in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world.
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