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Abnormal weather dampens millet harvest in east Taiwan

Harvests nationwide affected by low temperatures and less sunlight than usual

The file photo shows birds eating millet. 

The file photo shows birds eating millet.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taitung has registered record low sunlight and average temperatures for May, followed by a poor harvest of grain.

The abnormal weather has dampened hopes for a good harvest in July, the usual time to harvest the important staple food for Indigenous people in Taiwan, per UDN.

In May, Taitung recorded an average temperature of 25.4 degrees Celsius, the lowest since 2013. Meanwhile, the total monthly hours of sunlight in the county was just 86 hours, far lower than the average of 152.9 hours over the past 10 years.

As a result, millet growers harvested 50% less in June compared with 2021.

Taitung farmers have planted over 200 hectares of millet this year, making it the largest producer in Taiwan.

Abnormal weather has reportedly caused bad harvests nationwide, including scallions in Yilan; onions, lychees, and mangoes in Pingtung. The country relies heavily on food and feed supply from international trade, while some producers are cutting farm exports due to extreme weather and Ukraine war-induced supply disruptions.