Hybrid rice set to boost yields by 20%
By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-07-24 07:05

A senior agriculture expert said yesterday that an output of 900 kg of rice per mu was achievable by 2010.

This would be a considerable boost to the tightening food supply in the country.

At a press conference held by the Beijing International Media Center, Qing Xianguo, deputy director-general of the Hunan Hybrid Rice Research Center, said his team had already achieved the target in some trial cases.

"We are confident that we can realize our target by 2010," Qing, a colleague of the father of hybrid rice, Yuan Longping, said.

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"It will mean a 20 percent rise in the country's rice production every year," he said.

Innovations in hybrid rice technology have seen the per mu rice output reach 700 kg in 2000 and 800 kg in 2004, Qing said.

Currently, 50 percent of China's paddy fields grow Yuan's hybrid rice, which yields 60 percent of the total rice production, about 200 million tons a year.

The country has planted about 5 billion mu (333 million hectares) of hybrid rice since it was cultivated in 1976 when the production was 300 kg per mu.

"That has been a considerable boost to the food supply both in the country and around the world," Qing said.

At least 20 countries have planted about 30 million mu of China's hybrid rice and trial projects in Southeast Asia, South Asia, South America and Africa have been very successful, Qing said.

The yields there have been 20 to 40 percent higher than the conventional rice harvests, he said.

Qing said the rice yield per mu could reach 1,500 kg, and the team is now switching to modern biological techniques, including gene technologies, to achieve that target.

The profit margin on planting hybrid rice is 30 percent higher than that on conventional rice.

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