Chinese Farmers Seek Help as Rice Crops Ruined by Flooding

Nicole Hao

After severe flooding in central and southern China ruined rice crops, many farmers have been left struggling.

Following heavy rainfall in the past half-month, some rice crops began to sprout, meaning they can no longer be harvested.

More rain is expected in central, southern, and southwestern China for the next couple of days, with some anticipated to be more severe, China’s National Meteorological Center warned.
“Sprouted rice cannot be produced into rice grains ... I really want to cry, but my tears are all dried up,” said Chen, a farmer in Poyang county, Shangrao city in eastern China’s Jiangxi Province, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times in a phone interview.
Chen and his fellow villagers plant rice, cotton, and sesame. Their adult children are migrant workers in major cities, but have been unable to earn enough money due to many factories closing during the CCP virus pandemic, he said.

Farmers in Jiangxi typically have two planting seasons: one before May, to harvest in July, and another before August, to harvest in October. However, the first season's crops were ruined by flooding.

But while farmers planted another round of crops, hoping to harvest in September, the second harvest season also has been disrupted.

“A lot of rice fell into the [storm] water. Some rice sprouted. The other crops that still stand in the field are wilted,” Chen said. “We can’t harvest enough rice.”

Elsewhere, rice crops in Guizhou Province also sprouted before farmers could harvest them, a local netizen posted on Chinese web portal NetEase on Sept. 20.

Chen planted cotton and sesame after the floodwaters receded. However, these crops didn’t grow well.

“Cotton really needs sunshine. Without sunshine, we can’t have a good harvest,” he added.

The disruptions have caused the price of rice and other staple foods to rise sharply, especially pork. Meanwhile, villagers whose homes were destroyed by the flooding haven't received any assistance from the local government, Chen said.

Chen’s friends and relatives living in the city are also having a hard time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year is very tough. ... My friends who operate porcelain businesses are all in bad shape,” Chen said. “At least half the stores in Jingdezhen city were closed.”

For more than 1,000 years, Jingdezhen has been known for producing China’s finest ceramics.

Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.