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Hybrid rice seeds yielding hope

By Ma Zhiping in Sanya | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-15 09:55
Fields with 31 major hybrid rice varieties grown in the Belt and Road countries attract participants of the third Sanya International Rice Forum at the golden Sanya Paddy Field National Park. The 186-hectare national park boasts a total of 500 rice varieties and integrates agriculture and tourism. [Photo by Ma Zhiping/chinadaily.com.cn]

Madhav Prasad Pandey, a professor of genetics and plant breeding at Nepal Agriculture and Forestry University, was impressed by the integration of agriculture and tourism at the 186-hectare national park, where a total of 500 rice varieties are demonstrated. "It is a smart idea to build such a grand national park, a live rice museum, to showcase the rich varieties of rice and pass on the technological culture of rice growing," he said.

Hybrid rice, which is produced by crossbreeding different kinds of rice, was developed by Chinese scientists led by Yuan in 1974. Two years later, China began the widespread growing of hybrid rice, also known as super rice.

With current acreage amounting to 16 million hectares, or about 53 percent of China's rice acreage, and rice output having grown from 6 metric tons per hectare in the 1970s to 15 metric tons now, hybrid rice is known as the "fifth invention in the world". The new variety has made solid contributions to helping feed Chinese - which account for 21 percent of the global population - with only 7 percent of the world's arable land.

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