‘Father of hybrid rice’ proposes to develop sea-rice for world food security

Yuan Longping, China’s “father of hybrid rice,” proposed to develop sea-rice to protect food security of China and the world, during the 2017 East Asia Marine Cooperation Platform in Qingdao, eastern China’s Shandong province, Sept 7.

Yuan said raising the unit production of rice is a tough issue. “It is expected that 60 percent more rice will need to be produced in 2030 compared to 1995. Currently, one hectare for rice production provides food for 27 people. By 2050, one hectare will have to support 43 people.”

Yuan expects the yield of sea-rice to reach at least 300 kilograms per mu (0.07 hectares) by 2020. China would gain another 30 billion kilograms of grains if the country gains 100 million mu of fertile land on mud flats, which could feed the whole Hunan province in central China for one year, he said.

Growing rice is the first choice to improve the quality of saline-alkaline soil, which equals 950 million hectares worldwide, Yuan said. China has 100 million hectares of saline-alkaline soil, of which 18.7 million hectares are explorable land.

“If 50 percent of the world’s rice paddies were hybrids, rice production would increase by another 150 million tons, and 400 to 500 million more people could be fed,” Yuan said.

The East Asia Marine Cooperation Platform is expected to boost cooperation in marine sectors among China, Japan, South Korea, and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The forum will last two days.

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