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Father of hybrid rice on efforts to improve food security
An eminent Chinese agronomist and father of hybrid rice, Prof. Yuan Longping, urges the government Thursday to spend more on projects to increase per-hectare yield and protect the country's shrinking farmland resources so as to ensure food safety.
Prof. Yuan, a noted academian of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said China's grain output continued to drop in the fifth consecutive year in 2003 to about 430 million tons from a record of approximately 520 million tons for 1998.
Yuan, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People' s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) that is in its second plenary session, said governments at all levels should increase input in research programs to increase per-hectare yield, and provide more direct subsidies to grain growers in a bid to fill them with zeal to produce more cereals.
Yuan, who is currently in Beijing for the on-going CPPCC session, said he would go on working hard and consistently on his super-hybrid rice project.
Hybrid rice, which has been introduced to more than half of the rice acreage in China, makes up over 60 percent of its total rice output since it was developed by the prestigious agronomist Yuan Longping in the 1970s.
Partly thanks to the spread of hybrid rice strains, Chinese farmers are able to maintain rice production for food safety, while several million hectares of paddies have been released for growing other crops to raise farmers' incomes.
Meanwhile, China has, since the early 1990s, sent veteran rice specialists to Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and other south and southeast Asian nations to impart hybrid rice nursing, cultivating and other related technologies.