Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on June 30, 1973 · Page 123
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June 30, 1973

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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 123

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Phoenix, Arizona
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Saturday, June 30, 1973
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Page 123
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Page 123 article text (OCR)

BULLDOG The AHcmia Republic SM,, Jflfle 30, 1973 Dry spell perils fields in United Press International ,, LONDON - the long -drought in China's Yellow River basin shows no sign of breaking, and the summer harvest time is drawing inex- 'orably nearer. '. Last year the lack ot rain • caused a drop of 10 million tons in China's total grain harvest, from 250 million in 1971 down to 240 million, and ./it is nOw beginning to look as if the shortfall this year might be just that, too. This is the third dry season in succession . on the north China plain. . Becuase of good distribution the effect last year was mitigated, although the drought was said to be the worst for 50 years. / But Peking's overseas grain purchases, which dropped ..drastically in 1971, have 'zoomed to a peak figure of 6 'million tons for the 12months up to July 1973, and the leadership has to face the sobering thought that if there is another drop in the harvest this year, more purchases of the same order of magnitude will have to be made. Last year's disappointing harvest probably caused the Chinese to dig into their grain reserves as well as having to buy abroad. In any case, China's import bills appear likely to rise no- ,,-ticeably. Aircraft, fertilizer •.plants and other machinery have already been agreed on. The foreign technical exhibi- ftions held recently in Peking -•and the large number of spec i a 1 i s t Chinese delegations which have visited Europe, Japan and North American $ill probably lead to more. Peking will be left with two ' options — either to delay the purchases or to accept more lohgterm credit. If they were to continue to have bad har- \ vests they might find it hard to keep up a series of repay- •"'.ments without noticeable tightening of belts at home. Since 1970, t'h o u g h, the Chinese consumer has enjoyed the beginnings of pros- -perity, and a return to the austere life of the past is unlikely to be popular. How bad, in fact, is the agricultural situation now? What is at stake is the summer-harvested crops; they are the winter wheat, the early rice and some of the coarse grains. This summer harvest amounts' to about 30 per cent of the annual total, so a failure no'w can always be mitigated by success in the autumn, though this year the .Chinese long-range weather forecasts predict typhoons and floods in-the south. The general outlook therefore is somewhat uncertain. '•Last year it was not the winter Wheat that was affect.. ed by the drought but the cor- ase grains, which grow in most parts of China except the e x t r e m e south. They, along with potatoes (which are counted in with the grain harvest), normally contribute 100 million tons or more of foodgrain to the total. Nor did the rice acreage suffer much, as China's program for beating the weather by stabilizing production with efficient irrigation and drainage in high- yield areas like the Pearl River Delta has genuinely begun to payoff. At this stage there is not much the Chinese government can do. Earlier, in some provinces, sown acreages were expanded and every* where there was enormous pressure towards more water conservancy work. But more wells a,nd channels are no use when the water simply isn't there, and as Shantung Radio pointed out a few weeks ago, the water table is now very low. Earlier in the spring, Hainan had a very dry spell just as the early rice was to be planted out, and no less a body than the party central committee sent aircraft to carry out rain-making operations, a sign of the gravity of the situation. But even the central committee cannot produce rain without clouds, and the best the leadership can do at present is to urge intensive care. China, still 80 per cent dependent on agriculture, cannot afford another disappointing year for its industrial program, and so its strategy to beat its population growth woujd certainly be affected. •ill iiiiifiiiiii 'ti&gtijj££i starts tomorrow Mr modern ways to save time andfiioney 56-5010 save 100.00 \ microwave oven 299.95 By Okeefe & Merritt. Cool cooking ^for summer. Full 28 minute timer. Eliminates messy pots and pans, keeps nutrition in cooked food. A107 save 20.00, maytag all-fabric washer 249.95 The all new Highlander washer handles any fabric you own! 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