TAIYUAN, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has called for more efforts to ensure grain production as the lingering dry spell continues to threaten China's grain output.
Local authorities should undertake major efforts to prepare for spring planting and fight drought, Hui said during a three-day inspection tour, which ended Tuesday, of north China's Shanxi province, one of the country's major wheat growing regions.
He said recent rain and snow in north China was not sufficient to alleviate drought in Shanxi, and called for preparations for a long-term fight against drought as well as efforts to minimize losses.
He said good spring planting and drought control were crucial to summer grain production and the annual harvest, and conducive to price stability.
He urged local authorities to intensify drought relief efforts, and increase funding and subsidies to farmers. They should expand irrigation and work to ease shortages of drinking water.
He called on local authorities to expand spring planting areas and step up construction of water conservancy projects.
Local governments should work to ensure supplies of agricultural materials to keep prices stable. Prevention of epidemic diseases among animals should be strengthened.
As of Monday the drought had affected 101.18 million mu (6.75 million hectares) of winter wheat in the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Anhui, Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi and Gansu, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. The affected areas dropped by 4.25 million mu from Sunday due to snow and irrigation, it said.
The National Meteorological Center said Tuesday that no rain or snow was forecast in most drought-hit regions of north China in the next three days.