BEIJING, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's cotton yield continued to drop in 2016 as the growing area of the fiber decreased, official data showed Tuesday.
Yields of cotton decreased 260,000 tonnes to 5.34 million tonnes, a 4.6 percent decrease year on year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The area of cotton fields in China fell by 420,500 hectares to 3.376 million hectares, a year-on-year decrease of 11.1 percent, said Huang Bingxin, a senior NBS statistician.
It is the third consecutive year of decline, with the relatively low profitability of cotton blamed for the fall in production.
The cotton output of the Yangtze River Basin and the Yellow River Basin kept declining in 2016, Huang said.
Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region increased its yield despite a decrease in growing area, with cotton yield per hectare in Xinjiang increasing by 151.5 kilograms in 2016.
Xinjiang, the country's largest cotton growing area, produced 3.594 million tonnes of cotton in 2016, accounting for 67.3 percent of China's total, up from 62.5 percent in 2015.
China's cotton yield peaked in 2012 at 6.84 million tonnes, more than 2.2 times that of 1978, official data showed.