Chinese farmers struggle as scorching drought wilts crops

Aug 19, 2022, 3:47 PM | Updated: Aug 22, 2022, 3:17 pm
Gan Bingdong uses a hose to water plants near a dying chili pepper plant at his farm in Longquan vi...

Gan Bingdong uses a hose to water plants near a dying chili pepper plant at his farm in Longquan village in southwestern China's Chongqing Municipality, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022. Drought conditions across a swathe of China from the densely populated east across central farming provinces into eastern Tibet have "significantly increased," the national weather agency said Saturday. The forecast called for no rain and high temperatures for at least three more days from Jiangsu and Anhui provinces northwest of Shanghai, through Chongqing and Sichuan in the southwest to the eastern part of Tibet. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

LONGQUAN, China (AP) — Hundreds of persimmon trees that should be loaded with yellow fruit lie wilted in Gan Bingdong’s greenhouse in southwestern China, adding to mounting farm losses in a scorching summer that is the country’s driest in six decades.

Gan’s farm south of the industrial metropolis of Chongqing lost half its vegetable crop in heat as high as 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) and a drought that has shrunk the giant Yangtze River and wilted crops across central China.

Gan’s surviving eggplants are no bigger than strawberries. A reservoir beside his farm has run dry, forcing him to pump groundwater.

“This year’s high temperatures are very annoying,” Gan said.

Drought conditions across a swath of China from the densely populated east across central farming provinces into eastern Tibet have “significantly increased,” the national weather agency said Saturday.

The forecast called for high temperatures and no rain for at least three more days from Jiangsu and Anhui provinces northwest of Shanghai, through Chongqing and Sichuan provinces to the east of Tibet.

Local authorities were ordered to “use all available water sources” to supply households and livestock, the weather agency said.

The biggest impact is in Sichuan, where factories have been shut down and offices and shopping malls told to turn off air-conditioning after reservoirs to generate hydropower fell to half their normal levels.

The province of 94 million people gets 80% of its electricity from hydropower dams.

Factories that make processor chips for smartphones, auto components, solar panels and other industrial goods were shut down for at least six days through Saturday. Some say output will be depressed while others say supplies to customers are unaffected.

The shutdowns add to challenges for the ruling Communist Party as President Xi Jinping, the country’s most powerful leader in decades, prepares to try to break with tradition and award himself a third five-year term as leader at a meeting in October or November.

Growth in factory output and retail sales weakened in July, setting back China’s economic recovery after Shanghai and other industrial centers were shut down starting in late March to fight virus outbreaks.

The economy grew by just 2.5% over a year earlier in the first half of 2022, less than half the official annual goal of 5.5%.

State-run utilities are shifting power to Sichuan from other provinces. Authorities used fire trucks to deliver water to two dry villages near Chongqing.

In Hubei province, east of Chongqing, 220,000 people needed drinking water, while 6.9 million hectares (17 million acres) of crops were damaged, the provincial government said Saturday. It declared a drought emergency and released disaster aid.

In Sichuan, 47,000 hectares (116,000 acres) of crops have been lost and 433,000 hectares (1.1 million acres) damaged, the provincial disaster committee said Saturday. It said 819,000 people faced a shortage of drinking water.

Authorities in Chongqing say an estimated 1 million people in rural areas will face drinking water shortages, the Shanghai news outlet The Paper reported.

Gan, the farmer south of Chongqing, said he has lost one-third of his persimmon plants.

Farmers in the area usually harvest rice in late August or September but plan to finish at least two weeks early before plants die, according to Gan.

A community reservoir beside Gan’s farm is nearly empty, leaving a pool surrounded by cracked earth. After supply canals ran dry, it sprang a leak and heat accelerated evaporation. Gan is pumping underground water for irrigation.

“If the high temperature comes every year, we will have to find a solution such as to build up nets, daily irrigation or to install a spray system to reduce the loss,” Gan said.

Meanwhile, other areas have suffered deadly flash floods.

Flooding in the northwestern province of Qinghai killed at least 23 people and left eight missing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing local authorities.

Mudslides and overflowing rivers late Thursday hit six villages in Qinghai’s Datong county, the report said. Some 1,500 people were forced out of their homes.


AP video producer Olivia Zhang contributed.


Follow AP’s coverage of the Asia-Pacific region at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A logo of Toyota Motor Corp. at a dealer Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Tokyo. Toyota said Thur...
Associated Press

Japan’s Toyota finds wheel, airbag fixes for recalled EVs

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s top automaker Toyota said Thursday that it has identified how to fix its 2023 model year bZ4X crossover electric vehicles after recalling 2,700 of them in June out of concern wheel bolts might become loose, risking a crash. The fix will enable Toyota Motor Corp. to resume making and selling the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Loretta Lynn performs at the BBC Music Showcase during South By Southwest on March 17, 2016,...
Associated Press

Loretta Lynn’s songs resonate anew amid abortion debate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Loretta Lynn, the Grammy-winning country music icon who died Tuesday at 90, lived through — and sang about — decades of advancements for women’s social movements, achievements now endangered. A mother multiple times over by the end of her teens, she gave voice to those who had historically had little control […]
1 day ago
Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari smiles during an interview with the Associated Pr...
Associated Press

Pakistani FM says water receded 50% in flood-ravaged Sindh

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s foreign minister on Thursday said that about 50% of the water has receded in the country’s worst-hit southern Sindh province, raising hopes that farmers will be able to sow wheat in a first step toward returning to a normal life. “We are utilizing all of our resources for draining the remaining […]
1 day ago
Pope Francis on a wheelchair attends his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at The Vatic...
Associated Press

Pope Bahrain trip blends Muslim outreach, Catholic ministry

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Bahrain blends three of his top priorities as pope: Ministering to a tiny Catholic community, promoting dialogue with the Muslim world and fostering relations with other Christian communities, according to details released Thursday by the Vatican. The Nov. 3-6 visit will mark Francis’ second trip to the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Official: Germans using too much gas to avoid energy crisis

BERLIN (AP) — Germans are using too much gas to avoid a potential energy “emergency” this winter, the head of Germany’s national network regulator warned Thursday. “Gas consumption increased by too much last week,” said Klaus Mueller, head of Germany’s network agency. With the reduction in natural gas flows from Russia amid the war in […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ukraine leader says Putin wouldn’t survive nuclear attack

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday it was “hard to say” whether the risk of nuclear war had increased with his military’s territorial gains, but he remains confident his Russian counterpart would not survive such as escalation in hostilities. Zelenskyy was addressing the Lowy Institute international think tank in Sydney […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Chinese farmers struggle as scorching drought wilts crops