China has approved new drought drought-specific laws that would restrict agricultural land holdings to five percent of total area and limit agricultural output to the equivalent of 10 percent of the country’s total area.
The measures would also apply to commercial enterprises that are not covered by a national law, such as hotels and shopping malls.
In addition, the new measures could be extended to other sectors including agriculture, industry and media, said a statement from the Agriculture Ministry.
The laws, which go into effect in July, will be a major blow to farmers in the country that relies heavily on grain exports to feed an increasingly urban population.
The law would also affect the countrys biggest food producers, such the country is the world’s largest exporter of rice.
China’s drought-induced crop losses have contributed to the country experiencing record levels of poverty, forcing millions of farmers to seek employment abroad.
The countrys economy shrank by 2.5 percent in the first six months of this year, according to government statistics.
In February, it was the worst in three years.
The new laws are a major boost to the government’s push to boost farm productivity and boost the economy.
The government also plans to ease regulations on food safety, improve the countrywide market and improve the efficiency of farming, the statement said.
The drought has been particularly severe in the provinces of Hubei and Henan, which together account for about 50 percent of China’s total agricultural output.
A large area of farmland has been cleared to grow corn, soybeans, rice and cotton.
The drought has also hurt agricultural production in some of Chinas most fertile regions, including Sichuan and Inner Mongolia.
The government has said it will help farmers in these regions to adapt to the drought.