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Impact of Henan Floods on Agriculture and Rural Areas
by Lea Siebert
Dr. Aihemaitijiang Rouzi
Advisor Agricultural Sustainability (DCZ)
From 17 July 2021 to present, Henan Province has experienced a series of extreme flooding and its aftermath due to heavy rain (CNN). As of 3 August, 302 flood related casualties have been reported, 50 people still have been missing and an estimate of economic loss stood at 17 Billion USD (Wall street Journal).
On 2 August, the Chinese government ordered an investigation into Henan floods and its handling. Subway cars and stations were flooded in the provincial capital Zhengzhou which brought massive disruption to the city, nearby Xinxiang City was also inundated with flood waters and about a million people were temporarily displaced in the whole province (NPR). The Chinese government has initiated a relief and recovery effort in the province, and the province has received 840 million USD of donations from public.
Although most of the media coverage and relief effort has focused on Zhengzhou and other cities in the province, there has been some reports on the effect of floods on the agriculture and rural areas. According to a report by South China Morning Post, at least 2.4 million hectares of cropland have been affected in Henan. As one of China’s breadbasket provinces, Henan produces 1/3 of national wheat supply, 1/10 of the corn and significant amount of pork and vegetable. Many crop fields were flooded, in some areas, the crop output could fall as much as 40 % according to the provincial government (South China Morning Post).
According to the South China Morning Post’s estimate, losses to Chinese live-stock industry from Henan flood is around 348 million USD in which they lost 248,000 pigs, 6.4 million chicken and 45,000 sheep to the floods. Live-stock death toll and economic damage from the flood will continue to rise as the full scope of the destruction emerges after the destruction. Local farmers also fear that the floods could lead to new outbreaks of African Swine Flu in the affected areas (Farm Policy News).
This led to heightened concern for potential inflation and food price increases. The price of vegetables in Xinfadi wholesale market in Beijing increased by 3.29% compared to last week as Henan is one of the major suppliers (South China Morning Post). However, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has stated that the impact of Henan floods on the grain market will be limited and temporary (Global Times).