China is experiencing the worst drought in crucial agricultural areas in 60 years, with Shandong Province potentially facing the worst drought in 200 years if rains fail to materialize by the end of this month.
The situation is so severe that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization released a warning that the drought is threatening the world's largest wheat producer, and also creating shortages of drinking water. Given the number of people needing sustenance across the country, the global grain market could be also affected if precipitation patterns fail to improve and China is forced purchase grain from abroad.
Food prices have also been increasing in China, despite officials' assurances that there is ample supply to meet demand. Fortunately, 90% of China's wheat harvest is spring wheat, which is planted in March and harvested in June, providing time for improvements in the situation.
The government has also announced an allocation of US$15 billion in an effort to assist farmers in coping with the situation, with other attempts to mitigate the dry conditions including the drilling of additional wells for irrigation and seeding clouds to encourage precipitation.
Our prayers, farmers and people of China, for ample rain to bless the region and many thanks for the Chinese government's efforts to help.
May we step in concerted endeavors toward sustainable lifestyles that support abundant harvests for people worldwide. Speaking during a September 2009 videoconference in Peru with concern for the plight of those enduring the tolls of climate change, Supreme Master Ching Hai reminded of the critical actions needed immediately to restore our planetary balance and abundance.