Saturday, September 9, 2023

Disaster Spending Suggests Flood/Drought Damage

The billions of RMB paid out to mitigate flooding and drought in China--including directives to replant crops in September within a month or two of harvest--suggest substantial damage to grain crops. Yet, Chinese authorities are sure to announce another huge harvest this year. 

Funding of 732 million RMB was announced September 1, 2023 by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for drought mitigation in Gansu and Shaanxi Province; recovery from typhoon damage to crops in Jilin and Heilongjiang Province; and control of rice pests and diseases in Jiangxi and Hunan Provinces. 

On August 25, the Gansu Provincial finance and agricultural departments issued 50 million RMB for emergency drought relief that paid for seeds, fertilizer, agricultural plastics and equipment to replant crops, and water engineering in the province.

On August 30, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs held its videoconference to discuss use of agricultural machinery for disaster prevention and recovery. The annual "Three Autumn" mechanization work calls upon local officials to organize equipment and teams to harvest fall crops, plant over-wintering wheat and rapeseed crops, and to plow, level, drain fields and dig ditches. Officials in flood-impacted areas were ordered to use earth-moving equipment to rehabilitate fields as soon as floodwaters recede. Local authorities are expected to fund this initiative on their own. The program sets targets for the number of machines and strives to increase the mechanization rate. 

On July 31, The Ministries of Finance and Agriculture issued 432 million RMB to support saving or replanting of crops impacted by drought and floods in 8 provinces. 

On June 3, the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture announced emergency funds of 200 million RMB to expedite harvesting and drying of wheat in Henan Province after severe flooding waterlogged the crop.

In April, central authorities issued 1.6 billion RMB for the annual "one spray, three preventions" to treat the winter wheat crop with a combination of fungicides, insecticides, plant growth regulators, and fertilizers.

Also in April, authorities issued 10 billion RMB for a "one-time subsidy to grain farmers" to compensate farmers for rising input costs at spring planting time. Any farmer, cooperative, or enterprise that actually plants grain is eligible to receive this subsidy. 

Similar disaster funds were issued in 2022. The "one-time" subsidy is actually a "three-time" subsidy (and counting) since "one-time" subsidies were also given in 2021 (40 billion RMB) and 2022 (20 billion RMB). Each province pays this subsidy in different amounts based on the area of crops planted. The "one spray, three preventions" for spring wheat spraying has been paid routinely for many years. In August 2022 300 million RMB was distributed for recovery and replanting of crops impacted by drought, flooding and typhoons in 13 provinces. In June 2022, 673 million RMB was issued for control of rice and corn pests and locusts in 25 provinces. In 2022--during severe covid lockdowns--the "three Autumn" mechanization emphasized harvesting and planting of crops where farmers were unable to return to their hometowns and harvesting and drying crops from flooded fields. 

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