The regime will «try to increase rainfall» by planting clouds with chemicals and spraying crops with a «water retention agent» to limit evaporation.
China will try to protect its grain harvest from an unprecedented drought by using chemicals to generate rain, while factories in the southwest could close another week due to water shortages to generate hydroelectric power, was reported on Sunday.
The hottest and driest summer since records began in China 61 years ago has withered crops and left reservoirs at half their normal level. Factories in Sichuan province closed last week to save energy in homes as demand for air conditioning increased, with temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).
The next 10 days are a «key period of resistance to harm» for southern China’s rice harvest, said Agriculture Minister Tang Renjian, according to the Global Times newspaper.
Authorities will take emergency measures to «guarantee the autumn cereal harvest,» which represents 75% of China’s annual total, Tang said Friday, according to the report.
Authorities will «try to increase rainfall» by planting clouds with chemicals and spraying crops with a «water retention agent» to limit evaporation, the Ministry of Agriculture said on its website. He gave no details of where that would be done.
This adds to the challenges of the ruling Communist Party, which seeks to prop up economic growth before a meeting in October or November, when President Xi Jinping is expected to seek a third five-year term as leader.
A reduced Chinese grain harvest would have potential global impact. It would boost import demand, adding to inflationary pressure in the United States and Europe, which is at highs in decades.
Also on Sunday, thousands of factories in Sichuan province manufacturing solar panels, processor chips and other industrial products were waiting for news of whether the six-day shutdown of last week would be extended.