Updates with details, background
BEIJING, July 14 (Reuters) – China’s wheat for the summer harvest rose slightly from the previous year, the country’s statistics bureau said on Thursday, following concerns after heavy autumn rains delayed planting for the winter harvest.
Summer wheat crop output in the world’s top grower of the grain rose 1.0% to 135.76 million tonnes in 2022, the National Statistics Bureau said, while wheat planting acreage this summer increased 0.2% from last year.
Overall summer grain output also rose 1.0% from the previous year to 147.39 million tonnes, and summer planting acreage saw yearly gains of 0.3%.
Beijing has refocused on grain security, a top policy priority that has become increasingly prominent, since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. Its prominence was heightened after the start of the war in grain-producing powerhouse Ukraine in late February.
Prices of wheat harvested in China also rose to their highest levels on record last month despite stable demand, pushed up by surging farming costs, tight stocks and concerns that heavy rains last year would lead to a smaller crop.
The agriculture ministry, however, said its winter wheat crop improved more than expected.
Nevertheless, China has shored up financial support for wheat planting. It has allocated 5 billion yuan ($743.47 million) in total from its central finance system to stabilise winter wheat output this crop year as part of measures to strengthen food security in the world’s most populous country.
It also offered 10 billion yuan in subsidies to support grain cultivation and production, alleviate the impact of rising costs and to encourage cultivation of the grain.
($1 = 6.7252 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Emily Chow and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Krishna Chandra Eluri)
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