China produced slightly less rice in the first harvest period of the year compared to 2014 due to a shrinking planting area, but the yield per hectare increased, official data showed on Friday.

The country produced 33.69 million tonnes of "early rice," that planted in spring and harvested in early summer. This was a decrease of 320,000 tonnes, or 0.9 percent from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

China's early rice planting area for this year stood at 5.72 million hectares, 1.4 percent less than last year, with yield per hectare rising 0.4 percent to 5.89 tonnes.

Senior NBS statistician Hou Rui attributed the increase in yield to favorable weather and local authorities' support to farmers in seeds, pest control and other fields.

Early rice is mainly planted in eight central and southern provincial regions: Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong and Guangxi.

Rice is a staple food in China, and its total grain output consists of three parts -- early rice, summer grain and autumn production. Autumn grain crops, which include corn and middle- and late-season rice, account for the bulk of the grain production.