Wang, who grows rice and an assortment of vegetables, said several of his chickens had died. “For 10 days or so, the chicken pen was so hot, even my largest chicken that weighed over 4kg died.”
Without cooling measures, Pay said it only takes a couple of days of 40 degrees Celsius temperature for animals to die.
Another factor pushing up prices is the rising cost of grain imports.
During the drought, water levels were so low that some inland shipping routes were no longer viable.
The Yangtze River is a key logistics channel for the shipping of imported agricultural commodities like corn and soybean, which are unloaded at a port in Wuhan to get processed into livestock feed in central China.
These shipping channels had been cut off and ships had to unload much closer to the coast, Pay said, which added time and cost. As a result, some major feed producers said they will raise the prices of pig, poultry and fish feed.
The regions affected by the drought account for about 30 per cent of China’s rice production area.
But even if there is a shortage of rice – a staple food in China – experts said the government is likely to stabilise grain prices by tapping on its stockpile.
China’s grain reserves are the largest in the world, containing enough to feed China’s population for a year even without any harvest this year.
“I don’t think there will be an immediate food crisis,” said Wang Dan, the chief economist at Hang Seng bank.