China will try to ‘create rain’ to protect crop from drought

China’s Agriculture Ministry has said it will try to protect its grain harvest from the record drought plaguing the country by using chemicals to “create rain”. The country faces the hottest and driest summer since the government began recording rainfall and temperatures 61 years ago. The weather withered the crops and left the reservoirs with half their normal water level.

Agriculture Minister Tang Renjian said officials would take emergency measures to “ensure the autumn grain harvest”, which accounts for 75% of China’s annual total. He said the plan is to “increase rainfall” by producing clouds with chemicals and spraying crops with a “water retention agent” to limit evaporation.

The drought is yet another challenge for the Communist Party, which is trying to shore up weak economic growth and promote President Xi Jinping’s third term. A smaller grain harvest for China would increase demand for imports.

Factories in southwest China’s Sichuan province were closed last week to save energy for homes, as demand for air conditioning soared with temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius. This Sunday, companies awaited news about the extension of the stoppage.

Meanwhile, in the country’s northwest, areas of China suffered flash floods that killed at least 26 people and left five missing. Mudslides and rivers also hit six villages in the vicinity of the Great Wall and forced some 1,500 people from their homes.

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