Long Drought Pushes Up Farming Costs in China’s Henan Province
Ma Jichao
DATE:  Jun 19 2024
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Long Drought Pushes Up Farming Costs in China’s Henan Province Long Drought Pushes Up Farming Costs in China’s Henan Province

(Yicai) June 19 -- Farming costs, including irrigation, in China’s central Henan province have significantly increased because of an over one-month long drought.

The sowing cost of corn seeds is over CNY200 (USD28) per 1 mu, which is equal to 0.16 acres, Wang Tan, a farmer with a land of over 10 mu in Zhumadian, southern Henan, told Yicai. But because of the drought, many areas need to be sowed more than once because the seeds wither in the dry soil, Wang added.

Between 400 and 450 kilograms of corn can usually grow on 1 mu of land in six months, so with corn prices of CNY2 (28 US cents) per kg, 1 mu can only generate an average gross profit of up to CNY800 to CNY900, which greatly shrinks when adding the herbicide, water, and labor costs, Wang explained.

The drought over the past month has kept seeds from growing and caused the existing crops to wither and die. Local farmers started pumping water from the irrigation system earlier this month, but the water is now in short supply as many rivers have dried, Wang noted.

Farmers in Hua county have also resorted to irrigation systems pumping water from water conservancy facilities, but their watering costs have skyrocketed. A local grain farmer told Yicai that he spent over CNY20,000 (USD2,760) on irrigation to water his 300 mu or 49.4 acres of arable land since the drought.

High farming costs and low profits in recent years have caused many farmers to change professions. For example, a former farmer from Zhumadian now works as a security guard in Shanghai for CNY2,600 (USD360) a month. The salary is low but acceptable, because at least he does not have to worry about external conditions, he told Yicai.

Since last month, Henan’s precipitation has been over 70 percent less than the average in the past years over the same period, Yang Wentao, director of the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters, told China Central Television. As of June 12, Henan had over 3.2 million mu or 532,100 acres of land that could not be sowed due to the drought.

Henan will continue to report high temperatures and sunny weather until June 24, according to the local meteorological department. There will likely be some scattered convective precipitation, but they cannot effectively alleviate the drought.

Drought-hit areas are expected to have some rain in the next 10 days, Chen Min, China’s vice minister for water resources, said at a press conference on drought relief, irrigation, and water supply on June 17. However, drought in some areas may continue due to the huge demand for irrigation, Chen noted, adding that the ministry will prepare to fight against severe and long drought, striving to ensure water supply and food security.

Henan’s wheat production accounts for one-quarter of China’s total, and its grain output ranks second in the country. The province has arable land of over 112 million mu, equal to 18.5 million acres.

Editor: Futura Costaglione

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Keywords:   Henan,Drought