According to Bloomberg, as the spring planting season begins, Chinese grain farmers face several difficulties, putting the country’s ability to secure enough grains for this year under pressure.
Soaring fertilizer and fuel costs hit the growers in Northeast China.
Moreover, strict COVID curbs that sealed the areas also prevented them from buying supplies, plowing their fields and seeding crops to prepare for seeding at the beginning of May.
Additionally, some farmers could not return to their hometowns to work due to the pandemic.
It is unclear how long the disruptions will last.
Aside from technical farming issues, those who could go out to work ran into another problem with strict anti-pollution rules against stubble burning.
The technique is still commonly used around the world. Farmers see the technique as the quickest and cheapest way to clear the land of remaining straw and waste from the previous harvest before the next planting season.
However, wastes from stubble burning are hazardous to air particles. Thus, the Chinese government urged farmers to collect farming waste using machines and transport it to nearby power plants for fuel.
But, growers claimed that machines left inferior soil conditions and more bugs, meaning fewer seeds would germinate and grow into seedlings.
China is the world’s largest importer of corn and soybeans. Due to domestic scarcity, the country has purchased record amounts in recent years, contributing to a rise in global prices.
The conflict in Ukraine, one of the world’s major breadbaskets, is also forcing Chinese buyers to turn to the U.S. market to replace the grain supply from Ukraine.