Many small liquor makers in the home of China's top baijiu brand, Moutai, have been ordered to stop production so that bigger producers can get enough water, as the drought in southwest China drags on. Emergency cloud-seeding was carried out in 88 cities and counties in Guizhou this week, with 50 places seeing some rainfall on Tuesday morning. But it was too little, too late for the liquor industry in the town of Maotai, in Renhuai . Moutai, the most famous brand of the pungent baijiu drink, made from sorghum and grain and 53 per cent alcohol by volume, is favoured by leaders for state banquets. It is one of the most expensive liquors in the world, with a bottle of 50-year-old Moutai selling for more than 20,000 yuan (HK$22,700). The severe drought has seen the water level in the Chishui River, the main water source for local makers, sink to its lowest in more than a century. Liquor giants such as state-owned Kweichow Moutai Company, producer of Moutai, can no longer draw water directly from the river. Xiong Hongfei , a marketing manager at Gutan Aged Liquor, a mid-sized distiller, said: 'We have had to rely on the redistribution of water resources arranged by the local government since the drought became worse early this year, with clean water drawn from the Chishui River being delivered only once every two or three days. 'So far the drought has not had a significant impact on large-scale liquor producers because they are all equipped with water reservoirs.' In order to reserve water for good quality liquor, Xiong said the township government had ordered many small liquor makers to stop production since late last year. Finding water resources and digging wells for villagers in the five drought-hit provinces and areas has become the top political mission for People's Liberation Army garrisons after President Hu Jintao , as head of the Central Military Commission, issued a joint order early this week along with the army headquarters' General Staff Department and General Political Department. But no immediate relief is in sight. More than 5,000 villagers of Yunnan's mountainous Nanhua county have been forced to leave home and camp near streams at the foot of a hill. The drought has affected about 61 million people and left more than 5.3 million hectares barren and 1.1 million hectares of crops dead in Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan , Chongqing and Guangxi , Xinhua said. Broomcorn, a type of sorghum that is the key ingredient for Maotai liquor, is usually planted around now, but farmers in Guizhou are holding off due to the drought, Chongqing Evening News said. 'Liquor prices will rise if the drought continues and causes crop failure this year,' it quoted a liquor maker as saying. Crop prices in the five drought-hit regions have risen in the past few months, raising fears that nationwide food prices could increase significantly. But experts from the State Council said unusual rises had been confined to drought-affected areas.