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Chinese expert stresses role of technology in food security
Updated: 2004-02-14 15:52

Yuan Longping, agricultural expert and "father of hybrid rice" in China, said in OME on Friday that increasing grain yield by way of technology is an effective way to solve the global issue of food shortage.

Addressing an international grain conference at the headquarters of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Yuan said that rice feeds more than half of the world population and therefore increasing grain yield will play an extremely important role in assuring food security and reducing the number of population in poverty.

Yuan pointed out that there are, in theory, many ways to increase grain yield, including building irrigation projects, improving soil, applying more fertilizer, bettering growing technology and cultivating high-yield strains.

However, in face of the severe situations of rising population and falling hectares of land across the world, the most effective and economical way is to grow the Chinese hybrid rice, he stressed.

The Chinese expert said that the hybrid rice, which has been grown in China for a long period, has an average of 20 percent more yield than other strains, and is already playing a significant role in guaranteeing food security in China.

He added that the hybrid rice has also helped other Asian countries to increase grain yield. By way of extensive growing of the rice, Vietnam has become the second largest grain exporter in Asia, he said.

The two-day conference is part of the activities of international grain year 2004 initiated by the United Nations. It was attended by officials and experts from China, Italy, the United States, Indonesia and some other countries.

Yuan is famous for his outstanding achievements in breeding high-yield hybrid rice, which has substantially increased China's grain output. He was the first in the world to have successfully cultivated hybrid rice in the 1960s.

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