People share umbrellas in Beijing on Sunday afternoon as an intense shower hit the capital's urban area and leaves a crosswalk flooded. Authorities issued alerts for thunderstorms. (DENG WEI/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Forecasters say downpours could re-flood drenched crop fields in north
China's agricultural authorities are urging farmers and local governments to step up preparations for more heavy rain that is expected to soak much of the country starting Sunday.
The National Meteorological Center has forecast moderate to heavy deluges in central and eastern China, including the northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning, which were ravaged by heavy rainfall earlier this month.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said the overlapping torrential rains would re-flood grainfields and strain local efforts to salvage inundated crops.
The ministry has called on agricultural departments to work closely with local meteorological centers and brace for heavy rain. They should also organize technicians and other experts to make emergency plans and step up the supply of farming materials such as fertilizer and antibiotics.
The public should receive warnings on their televisions, radios and cellphones. Local authorities have also been called upon to stockpile water pumps and fuel, clear drainage ditches on farms in advance and reinforce animal pens, the ministry said.
Such urgency in preparations was highlighted earlier this month by downpours caused by typhoons Doksuri and Khanun, which damaged crops in rice-producing Heilongjiang and Liaoning. Large areas of grainfields were also inundated by floods in Zhuozhou, Hebei province, as well as in Mentougou district in Beijing.
The torrential rains hit about a month before harvest season, with grassroots authorities trying to salvage crops by pumping water from fields and bringing in agricultural specialists.
In recent months, authorities have worked to reduce the impact of the deluges on farmers' financial well-being, as well as the country's food supply. The National Rural Revitalization Administration has allowed local authorities to bypass paperwork and give affected farmers State benefits to protect them from bankruptcy.
To prevent disruptions to the country's food supply, the ministry has called on southern provinces less affected by flooding to step up vegetable production this winter using idle farmland and to increase the shipping of greens to the north to fill the gap of supply that could possibly be induced by heavy floods.
Local authorities should speed up draining flooded fields in preparation for the upcoming planting season for legumes, the ministry said. For heavily hit farmland that is unfit for planting in the foreseeable future, authorities are asked to organize farmers to grow seedlings in nursery gardens first and transplant them to fields later. Efforts are also called for reinforcing greenhouses and spraying plants with solutions that prevent diseases.