Hybrid rice 'may solve world's hunger problem'

Written by: Nairita Das
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New Delhi, Sept 9 (ANI): A renowned Chinese agriculture scientist has said that he hopes his hybrid rice will spread all over the world and help in solving the world's hunger problem.

Yuan Longping, 80, known as the "Father of Hybrid Rice", said he hopes in 2020, when he turns 90, he can create a new version of hybrid rice yielding about 15 tons of rice per hectare, China Daily reported.

Yuan revealed he only has two wishes, both concerning his life's work - the hybrid rice that he originally created in the 1970s.

"First, I wish that by 2012, my team and I can complete the Phase-III super hybrid rice, which is expected to yield 13.5 tons of rice per hectare," he said at the 21st Century Forum in Beijing.

"I hope I can live another 10 years until 2020. By then the yield will be improved to 15 tons per hectare.

"Second, I wish that hybrid rice will be spread all around the world to solve the problems of hunger and ensure food security worldwide," he stated.

Hybrid rice is produced by crossbreeding different varieties of rice, with the second-generation super hybrid, which was released commercially in 2006, yielding 9 tons of rice per hectare on average.

Hybrid rice in China has significantly helped increase rice output and allowed 20 percent of the world's population to feed itself with just 7 percent of world's farmland.

"The increase of rice output plays a key role in ensuring food security and reducing poverty worldwide, and the most effective experience in increasing rice output is China's work on hybrid rice," Yuan said.

"We are fully prepared and willing to help other countries with food issues by growing hybrid rice," he added.

Hybrid rice accounts for about 57 percent of the total acreage, with an average output capacity of 7.2 tons per hectare.

"The average yield of hybrid rice is at least 20 percent more than that of inbred rice, feeding 70 million more Chinese people annually," Yuan said.

"If 50 percent of the world's rice paddies were planted with hybrids, rice production could increase by another 150 million tons, and 400 to 500 million more people could be fed," he added. (ANI)

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