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China eastern provinces' rice output hit by high temperatures - agri minister

Aug 29 (Reuters) - China's agriculture minister expressed concern for the country's autumn grain production, according to a ministry statement on Monday, and said high temperatures and drought have hit rice production in the eastern Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.

China's agriculture ministry cited Tang Renjian as saying that it is currently "the critical period for the autumn grain's crop yield formation," and that "the high temperatures and drought had a certain impact on rice production in some areas" following a visit to several rice fields in the provinces.

Tang called for measures such as water temperature control and fertiliser spraying to reduce heat impact on crops. He stressed the importance of drought and flood controls to stabilise and increase grain production and ensure national food security.

Many parts of southern China have experienced scorching temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) over the past few weeks, impacting crops and causing power shortages in Chongqing and Sichuan due to heavy use of air-conditioning and falling reservoir levels.

Last week, the agriculture ministry called on farmers to strengthen grain growth in the coming weeks or even switch crops.

The agriculture ministry also said in the Monday statement that some parts of Jiangsu and Anhui provinces had been seriously affected by high temperatures and little rain.

"The drought has eased after recent rainfalls, but the rainfall was unevenly distributed and the drought continues locally," it said.

China's eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Anhui produced 11.5% of the country's grain output in 2021, according to data from the statistics bureau.

(Reporting by Emily Chow and Beijing newsroom, Editing by Ros Russell)

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