China Storms Wallop Winter Crops

Worst storms in 50 years wreak 'catastrophic' impact on food supply
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2008 6:05 AM CST
The remains of an outdoor market are seen after it collapsed following a heavy snowfall in Loudi, in central China's Hunan province, Tuesday Jan. 29, 2008. China struggled Wednesday to cope with its worst...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Winter storms battering China have hit crops hard, the AP reports. "The impact on fresh vegetables and on fruit in some places has been catastrophic," said a Communist Party official, who added that emergency plans were in place to ensure a food supply to people and protect what crops remain. China's worst winter storms in 50 years have already triggered steep hikes in food and fuel prices, and future shortages are likely to drive inflation up further.

Eastern and central China have been struggling with fierce storms for weeks. Greenhouses that supply winter produce have collapsed, and vegetables and fruit are rotting in warehouses or on trucks blocked by impassable roads. Fish and poultry farms have also been hit hard. The price of vegetables has doubled in some areas. Officials fear that if the storms move north, the entire year's grain crop could be seriously affected.