(ORDO NEWS) — China says it’s going to protect its grain crop from record drought by using chemicals to make it rain.
The hottest and driest summer in China has led to the withering of crops and a significant decrease in water levels in reservoirs.
Factories in Sichuan province have closed to save electricity for homes as demand for air conditioners soared. The air temperature reached 45 degrees Celsius.
The next 10 days are “a key resilience period” for southern China’s rice crop, said Agriculture Minister Tang Renjian.
According to the report, the authorities will take emergency measures to “ensure the autumn grain harvest,” which accounts for 75% of China’s annual crop, Tang said.
Authorities will “try to increase rainfall” by seeding clouds with chemicals and spraying crops with a “moisture-retaining agent” to limit evaporation, Chinese officials said.
China’s smaller grain harvest will have potential global repercussions, experts say. This will boost demand for imports, pushing up inflation in the US and Europe, which are at multi-year highs.
On Sunday, thousands of factories in Sichuan province producing solar panels, microcircuits and other industrial products were waiting for an extension of the break.
The governments of Sichuan and neighboring Hubei province say thousands of hectares of crops have been completely destroyed and millions have been damaged.
The Hubei provincial government declared a state of emergency on Saturday due to the drought.
Sichuan has been hardest hit by the drought, as 80% of its energy comes from hydroelectric power. Offices and shopping malls in Sichuan province have been ordered to turn off their lights and air conditioners.
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