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Chinese farmers struggle as their crops wilt due to a hot drought

In a blistering summer that is the nation’s driest in six decades, hundreds of persimmon trees that should be laden with yellow fruit lie withering in Gan Bingdong’s greenhouse in southwest China, contributing to rising farm losses.

In heat as high as 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) and a drought that has reduced the size of the enormous Yangtze River and caused crops all throughout central China to wilt, Gan’s farm south of the industrial metropolis of Chongqing lost half of its vegetable harvest.

The eggplants that Gan has are hardly larger than strawberries. Since the nearby reservoir dried up, he has been forced to pump groundwater.

The extreme temperatures this year are really annoying, said Gan.

Drought conditions across a swath of China from the densely populated east across central farming provinces into eastern Tibet have ‘significantly increased,’ the national weather agency said Saturday.

From Jiangsu and Anhui provinces northwest of Shanghai through Chongqing and Sichuan provinces to the east of Tibet, the prediction was for high temperatures and no rain for at least three more days.

According to the weather organisation, local officials were instructed to ‘use all available water sources’ to supply homes and cattle.

The region with the worst effects is Sichuan, where companies have been forced to close and offices and retail centres have been instructed to switch off air conditioning as a result of hydropower reservoirs that have decreased to half their normal levels.



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