China's Top Pork Producing Province Damaged

by 5m Editor
19 May 2008, at 12:37pm

BEIJING - According to the China Post, Chinese province Sichuan has experienced a deadly earthquake, the last one having occurred 32 years ago. The quake has caused serious damage to agricultural production, the Ministry of Agriculture said.

The 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck May 12 damaged the region's irrigation facilities and farmland, delayed harvest and raised the risk of spreading animal diseases, Vice Minister of Agriculture Wei Chaoan told reporters in Beijing Saturday.

The losses won't lead to price increases or food shortages as production will be stepped up in other provinces to make up for any shortfall, he said. "The earthquake won't disrupt the fundamental good shape of agricultural production in the country this year," Wei said. "Supply of products such as grains and pork is secure and prices of agricultural produce will be stable."

Sichuan, the epicenter of the quake, is China's biggest pig breeder and one of the largest growers of rapeseed, the province's main source of cooking oil, and rice, reports the China Post. Reduced food output in Sichuan may further stoke inflation that is already near the fastest in more than a decade.

"This extraordinarily big earthquake caused severe losses to the disaster area's agriculture," Wei said. Many of the 13 worst-affected counties and cities are the "food basket" of the province, he said.

The earthquake damaged thousands of hectares of crops and killed more than 12 million farm animals, Wei said. The province may need to switch as much as 100,000 hectares of paddy fields to dry-land crops because irrigation systems have been wrecked, he said. Fertilizer production may be cut because plants shut down after the quake.

View the China Post story by clicking here.

5m Editor