BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) -- China expects a good summer harvest despite losses caused by the severe drought in the southwest and extremely cold weather in the north earlier this year.
Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Thursday projected the country's summer grain output this year would top 123 million tonnes, close to last year's level.
"Winter wheat has been harvested from 308 million mu (20.5 million hectares), or 90.4 percent of the nation's wheat-growing farm land," Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu said Thursday during an inspection tour to north China's Hebei Province.
Based on the yield so far, the output will be better than expected , Han said.
He attributed the good results to an expansion of wheat cultivation -- 520,000 mu more than that of last year, and the increase of output in major wheat-producing provinces.
Due to the drought that ended only a few months ago, the southwestern provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region would see summer grain production down by one third this year, Han said.
However, overall summer grain production would be close to last year's level because 11 major summer-grain growing provinces had reported increases in yield, Han said.
China's grain yield in 2009 hit a record high of 530.8 million tonnes, representing the sixth consecutive year of output growth.