Extensive irrigation systems in Yuanyang county, Yunnan province have helped ensure rice yields despite five years of winter and spring droughts. (photo: SAA staff)
Yunnan, China's most bio-diverse province, has been struggling with annual droughts since 2009. Mining of the region's valuable lead, zinc, and phosphate deposits has led to the destruction of forests and wetlands - two biomes that regulate and ensure water flow. What's left of the area's natural forests has been almost entirely replaced by large swathes of rubber, banana, and eucalyptus plantations, which lack developed undergrowth and have poor water retention.
A report released in early May showed that in the first four months of 2014, precipitation was down by 37% compared to the annual average for that period. Over 1m people are facing drinking water shortages, and dozens of rivers and reservoirs have dried up. The provincial government has responded by investing heavily in water storage and distribution projects, which should help with balancing the region's uneven distribution of rainwater (annual rainfall in different parts of Yunnan can vary from 50 cm to 300 cm). However, many scientists believe that in order to solve longer-term, underlying issues, more attention should be paid to restoration of the natural environment.
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This Week's News
Agricultural machinery Second China Precision Agriculture Summit set for October 2014 IBIS World estimates the global precision agriculture market will reach US 1.5bn by 2019. For businesses seeking to capture a corner of that market, China's 2nd annual Precision Agriculture and High-efficiency Utilization Summit (PAS 2014) is set for Oct. 22-23 in Beijing. Original headline: 2014第二届中国（国际）精准农业与高效利用高峰论坛10月亮相北京 Source: 国脉物联网 Guomai Online Crop Sciences Hebei farmers boost yields growing wood ear mushrooms upside-down With the latest technology, farmers are cultivating the wood ear in hanging bags -- a method that saves space and production costs. Local project administrators anticipate a 125,000 kg harvest, post drying and processing. Revenue is expected to exceed RMB 17.5m this year. Original headline: 河北平泉：“吊挂”式黑木耳栽培助农增收 Source: 新农网 New Farmer
Domestic and inbound activity New record high for US grain exports to China in 2013 In a single year between 2012 and 2013, net grain imports from the US rose from 16m tons to 18m tons. This trend can be ascribed in part to China's growing demand for animal protein driving rapid growth in the livestock sector and feed demand. Original headline: 中国粮食进口狂飙 净进口美国粮食规模创六年新高 Source: 和讯 Hexun
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