Severe Drought Affects 2009 and 2010 Herb Harvests

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Press Release:
Severe Drought Affects 2009 and 2010 Herb Harvests

May 2010


Most of China’s prime herb growing regions have been affected by a once in a century drought over the last two years. Drought during the 2008/2009 season severely impacted herbs grown in Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Anhui, Shandong and Hebei. During the 2009/2010 season the severe drought spread south to the growing regions of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Chongqing and Guangxi. While rain has started to fall in parts of Guangxi, and Shichuan, the spring plantings have already been greatly affected. Drought, earthquakes and inflation have already caused herb prices to rise in the recent past. In addition, it is highly likely that China will unpeg its currency from the dollar allowing for a gradual appreciation of its currency. Economists have recently said that China’s currency is 10-50% undervalued. With this combination of environmental and economic pressures, the price of herbs will likely continue to rise and the availability of some herbs may become limited.

In 2009 Anhui Province issued a red drought alert, with more than 60 percent of the crops north of the Huaihe River plagued by a major drought.

At one point nearly 80% of this region’s farmland was severely impacted by drought.

Hebei, like many drought affected regions was forced to channel over 100 million cubic meters of water from outside its borders to fight the drought.

Henan issued some of the highest level drought warnings in China. At points it was reporting almost 80 percent less rainfall than in the same period in previous years. The drought here was the most severe experienced since 1951.

This province lost over 20% of its wheat crop in 2009.

At the worst point of the drought, Shandong was experiencing 73 percent less rain than during the same period in previous years.

While rain has started to fall in this regions, many farmers have already lost significant income.

Rain has just begun fall in some areas, bringing some relief after the worst drought in a century.

Yunnan is experiencing its worst drought in 60 years causing economic losses in excess of 10 billion yuan (1.46 billion US dollars). While rain has started to fall elsewhere, Yunnan continues to be severely affected by drought.

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