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cracked-earthChina’s breadbasket, the northeastern Manchurian Plain, is in the midst of a devastating drought. 

While rice is primarily grown in the south, the majority of China’s wheat, corn and soybeans are farmed in the northeast. This year, the state-run Xinhua News Agency is warning that corn fields in some provinces are in danger of yielding no harvests at all.

Ten counties in Jilin province, part of the Manchurian Plain, are reporting the lowest rainfall levels since the government began keeping records in 1951. In the neighboring province of Liaoning, there has been no rain since July and local corn futures have risen more than 4 percent.

In the central province of Henan, the weakest flood season in over half a century has left rural communities without clean water for drinking or irrigation. The local government has gone so far as to shut off the water supply to swimming pools and bath houses, as well as asking businesses to restrict their usage.

Inner Mongolia has also been hit by the drought, with 270,000 cattle and 300,000 people deprived of drinking water. Thus far, drought-induced losses in the province have totaled $37 million.

China’s SDIC Zhonggu Futures brokerage is predicting a corn deficit of 40 million tons for the summer.

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