URUMQI, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- A severe drought is estimated to have reduced the output of ketchup products by half in China's major tomato growing region this year, officials and industry analysts said Monday.
Ketchup output is expected to drop to 435,200 tonnes this year in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, down 51.36 percent from a year earlier, according to the regional government.
This year's output is estimated to be the lowest in a decade.
The industry blamed the bleak production outlook on a persistent drought -- the worst in four decades -- that hit tomato farms in northern Xinjiang earlier this year.
Xinjiang is China's largest tomato product processing base. The output of tomatoes and tomato products is estimated to account for a quarter of the world's total. Xinjiang has an annual ketchup processing capacity of 2 million tonnes, the government said.