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China’s Granary Region Suffers Severe Flooding, Food Security at Risk

The remnants of Typhoon Doksuri caused severe flooding in China’s northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin, known as the country’s “breadbasket.” The flooding has killed at least 14 people and displaced tens of thousands more. It has also damaged or destroyed millions of hectares of crops, raising concerns about food security for China’s 1.4 billion people.

The flooding is the latest in a series of natural disasters to hit China’s agricultural sector in recent months. In May, heavy rains in Henan province caused widespread damage to wheat crops. In June, a drought in northern China took a toll on corn and soybean plantings.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has warned that the flooding in Heilongjiang and Jilin could have a “serious impact” on China’s agricultural production. The ministry said that the flooding has damaged or destroyed about 10 million hectares of crops, and that it could take several years for the region to recover.

The flooding is also a major blow to China’s efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in food production. China is the world’s largest producer of wheat, and it is among the largest producers of corn and soybeans, but the country still needs to imports significant amounts of these crops to meet domestic demand. This year’s flooding could lead to increased food imports, which would put a strain on China’s economy.

The Chinese government said that it is taking steps to mitigate the impact of the flooding, including providing relief to those affected and investing in infrastructure to help prevent future disasters. It remains to be seen how the flooding will impact China’s food security in the long term.

Source: Voice of America, August 7, 2023