The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture has urged farmers to cover open field vegetables to improve frost resistance and reinforce greenhouses to prevent collapse, as the country battens down the hatches amid a cold front that has seen temperatures drop well below normal.
The ministry reports 10,000 hectares of greenhouses have been damaged by snowfall and windy weather, across an area stretching from Jiangsu and Anhui – two provinces surrounding Shanghai – out west to Hubei and Henan, and up to Shanxi which lies southwest of the capital Beijing.
The ministry also pointed to 16,000 hectares worth of damages to open-field vegetables, tea leaves and fruit trees.
According to Anhui-based newspaper Jianghuaichenbao, heavy snow led to serious damages in strawberry greenhouses.
Reuters reported crop damage and the blockage of transport routes from severe weather had led to a surge in fruit and vegetable prices.
Xinhua has cited reports from the National Meteorological Center (NMC) that a yellow alert has been issued for a cold front, which is set to push down temperatures by 6-8°C in northern, northeastern, central and southern China.
The NMC reportedly forecast parts of these regions would see temperatures drop by 10°C.
“From Monday to Saturday, most places south of the Yellow River will see temperatures 4 to 6 degrees Celsius lower on average than previous years,” the story reported.