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China forecasts minute rise in global crop output

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BEIJING, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Global crop production in 2013 will see slight increases in key crops with a more notable rise for wheat, Chinese researchers said in the country's maiden report for an initiative assessing crops around the world.

Drafted by a research team led by Wu Bingfang with the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the CropWatch Bulletin released on Wednesday covers environmental conditions, cropping activities in major production zones, cropping intensity, biomass and uncropped arable land of major producing countries along with a single chapter on China.

The report describes the 2013 cropping season as "globally average," with increases ranging from 0.3 to 1.6 percent in the output of rice, maize and soybean over the last year. Meanwhile, wheat will do "generally better" with 705 million tons, up 4.1 percent year-on-year.

China's maize output will rise by 2.3 percent to 205 million tons, or 22 percent of world production, but its soybean production will drop by 3.5 percent to reach 13 million tons, nearly five percent of the global total. Changes to the country's rice and wheat outputs will be within one percent.

According to the bulletin, cold waves in the Northern Hemisphere and tropical storms in Southeast Asia are the two main environmental factors affecting this year's crops.

CropWatch is part of an initiative launched by the Group of Twenty (G20) that aims to assess global crop data using remote sensing and ground-based indicators so as to guide decision-making and boost food security.

Wednesday's bulletin, the 91st installment released in Chinese by the team since 1998, is available in English for the first time. The quarterly will be released bilingually from now on at cropwatch.com.cn, according to the institute.

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