Hundreds of persimmon trees that should be loaded with yellow fruit lie wilted in Gan Bingdong’s greenhouse in southwestern China.

Chinas farming areas and industrial hubs suffer under worsening drought conditions amid water shortages

China’s farming areas, The dead trees only add to mounting farm losses in a scorching summer that is the country’s driest in six decades. Mr Gan’s farm south of the industrial metropolis of Chongqing lost half its vegetable crop in heat as high as 41 degrees Celsius and a drought which has shrunk the giant Yangtze River and wilted crops across central China. Drought conditions across a swathe of China from the densely populated east across central farming provinces into eastern Tibet have “significantly increased,” according to the national weather agency. The forecast calls for high temperatures and no rain from Jiangsu and Anhui provinces north-west of Shanghai, through Chongqing and Sichuan provinces to the east of Tibet. The biggest impact is in Sichuan, where factories have been shut down and offices and shopping malls told to turn off air-conditioning after reservoirs to generate hydropower fell to half their normal levels. The province of 94 million people gets 80 per cent of its electricity from hydropower dams. Factories making processor chips for smartphones, auto components, solar panels and other industrial goods were shut down for at least six days through to August 20.

China’s farming areas, Some say output will be depressed while others say supplies to customers are unaffected. The shutdowns add to challenges for the ruling Communist Party, as President Xi Jinping prepares to try to break with tradition and award himself a third five-year term as leader later this year. Growth in factory output and retail sales weakened in July, setting back China’s economic recovery after Shanghai and other industrial centres were shut down starting in late March to fight virus outbreaks. The economy grew by just 2.5 per cent over a year earlier in the first half of 2022, less than half the official annual goal of 5.5 per cent. State-run utilities are shifting power to Sichuan from other provinces. The provincial government has declared a drought emergency and released disaster aid. In Sichuan, 47,000 hectares of crops have been lost and 433,000 hectares damaged, according to the government’s disaster committee. The committee says 819,000 people face a shortage of drinking water. Authorities in Chongqing say an estimated 1 million people in rural areas will face drinking water shortages.

Source: This news is originally published by abcl

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