Spokesman: China has enough grain reserves

Feb. 15, 2011 at 11:15 PM
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BEIJING, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The winter drought in China's wheat growing regions will not affect global food prices as the country has enough reserves, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Seeking to allay concerns the drought could further push already rising global food prices, foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the situation "will not affect international food prices." Ma said China has "abundant" grain reserves to meet domestic demand, China Daily reported Wednesday.

"The recent drought may have some impact on winter wheat production but the authorities are taking active measures to minimize the impact," Ma said.

China's wheat-growing regions in the north are in the grip of a prolonged drought and the country's agriculture ministry warned last week the dry spell could drag into spring. The warning comes amid rising prices in China and there are concerns any Chinese imports could put more pressure on already rising world food prices.

Official Chinese figures say the drought has so far affected more than 19 million acres of winter wheat in provinces that account for 42.4 percent of the total output in those regions.

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