BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday urged more measures be taken to minimize the impact of a drought due to the possibility that the winter drought may continue into spring.
The country's winter wheat producing regions have suffered severe drought since October last year, and the possibility of spring drought is surfacing, Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.
Spring drought following the winter one will be a significant threat to summer grain production, he said.
As of Wednesday, the drought had affected about 115.95 million mu (7.73 million hectares) of winter wheat in the country's eight key producing provinces, which account for 42.4 percent of the total winter wheat growing areas in the regions, the statement said.
China's main wheat growing regions include the provinces of Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Anhui, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu and Jiangsu.
Han urged agricultural authorities to be "fully aware of the extreme significance" of a summer harvest this year and strengthen their efforts to assure a successful harvest.
Summer grain and oil production is crucial to easing inflation pressures and stabilizing grain output for the entire year, he said. "To have a summer harvest, the current pressing job is to protect winter wheat from drought," he said.
There are currently positive factors for a summer harvest, including an adequacy of water for spring irrigation, according to Han.
He ordered local agricultural officials to work to stabilize spring planting areas and ensure that the areas for grain planting will be equal to that of last year.
Local agricultural officials were also asked to strengthen supervision over market supplies of agricultural materials to keep prices stable.
Also on Wednesday, the State Council, or the nation's cabinet, pledged to boost grain production by raising minimum purchase prices of grain, subsidizing the purchase of anti-drought technologies and adding funding for farm irrigation.