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Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-06-28      Origin: Site

Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping, globally renowned for developing the first hybrid rice strains, died of an illness on May 22nd at the age of 91, according to a hospital in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province.

Dubbed as the "father of hybrid rice," Yuan had devoted his life to the research and development of hybrid rice, which helped China feed nearly one-fifth of the world's population with only about 7 percent of the world's arable land.

Yuan devoted his life to developing rice strains that yield higher harvests after the Great Chinese Famine that killed tens of millions between 1959 and 1961. His variants helped alleviate famine in developing countries across Asia and Africa.

Yuan said growing seawater rice is vital to China's food security, as the country is home to one-tenth of the world's saline-alkaline land.

His team planned to develop a type of seawater rice that could be planted in 6.67 million hectares of saline-alkaline land across China, which they estimated could boost the country's rice harvest by about 20 percent.

In 2018, Yuan's team was invited to make a trial plantation of the saline-alkaline tolerant rice in experimental fields in Dubai, which achieved huge success. China's export of saline-alkaline tolerant rice and the technique has been eyed as a way to combat the world's food insecurity, according to Xinhua.

In October 2020, a rice breed developed by Yuan's team achieved a yield of 802.9 kg per mu (12.04 tonnes per hectare) on average in three plots of saline soil in Rudong County, east China's Jiangsu Province, a record output for rice grown on saline soil in China.

In June 2020, his team started to grow seawater rice on a farm at an altitude of 2,800 meters in northwest China's Qinghai Province, the first such trial on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Yuan once said he had two dreams – to "enjoy the cool under the rice crops taller than men" and that hybrid rice could be grown all over the world to help solve the global food scarcity.

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