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China Drought Threatens Global Wheat Supply February 18, 2011
China drought graphic
Acute drought conditions persist across much of northeastern China.
The creation of two rounds of artificial snow by cloud-seeding across northern China’s wheat belt this winter has failed to ease the severe drought parching the region, state media reports.

The most protracted drought in decades has prompted international warnings that China’s grain losses threaten to lift global commodity prices even further.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization cautions that more than two-thirds of China’s wheat crop is threatened “because of substantially below-normal rainfall this winter.”

China’s foreign ministry downplayed the concerns, assuring traders that the country has enough wheat reserves to minimize the drought impact on the market.

But in a drastic measure to help combat the water shortages, China launched a massive well-drilling operation in the worst-affected areas.

Approximately 1,000 wells initially will be drilled in Shandong province, then others will be bored in Henan and Hebei, officials said.

Photo: China Meteorological Agency - China Daily