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Hybrid rice seeds yielding hope

By Ma Zhiping in Sanya | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-15 09:55
The third Sanya International Rice Forum was held April 10-12,attracting more than 700 rice experts and businessmen from home and abroad. [Photo by Ma Zhiping/chinadaily.com.cn]

Bimala Shrestha, a farmer in Bhaktapur near Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, said, "I don't know how to express my joyful feeling." She has grown rice for about 20 years but had to change the seeds every year for a higher yield. Income from rice growing was tripled once she began growing hybrid rice in 2017, with support from Chinese technicians under the China-Nepal Agriculture Technical Cooperation Project.

With good stress resistance, and higher and more stable yields, hybrid rice seeds developed by centers in southern China have been warmly welcomed in Southeast Asian and South Asian countries, said Xie Zhenyu, an assistant research fellow at the Research

Institute of Tropical Crop Germ Plasm of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Xie said the Philippines turned out to be a prime location for experiments with new hybrid rice seeds. Within a decade, Chinese and Philippine scientists have worked together to cultivate 15 new varieties of hybrid rice.

Hybrid rice varieties are grown on more than 10 percent of the Philippines' arable land, which boosted the country's output of rice by 2.4 million metric tons a year, according to Philippine government statistics. The increase helped feed 15 million people, or 14 percent of the country's population, supposing that per capita annual rice consumption is 160 kilograms.

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