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China bettering rice yield target


08:23, March 04, 2013

BEIJING, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Yuan Longping, "father of hybrid rice," said on Sunday that China could reach its target unit yield of 1,000 kg per mu (0.0667 hectares) of paddy rice in 2015, five years ahead of schedule.

"I'm confident of reaching the target," said Yuan, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body.

The 83-year-old said China previously planned to reach the objective of "super-hybrid" rice yields by 2020. Relevant authorities have approved the project.

"It looks easy to raise the yield per mu from 900 kg to 1,000 kg. But it is actually very difficult. It counts only when several large tracts of farmland, each sized at several hundred mu, reach the yields on average," said Yuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

"The whole world is watching. The task is both glorious and arduous," said Yuan.

Research on super-hybrid rice began in 1996 as part of China's efforts to ensure food security.

A team of researchers led by Yuan reached a target unit yield of 700 kg per mu and 800 kg per mu in 2000 and 2005, respectively, setting world records both times. Last September, his team further raised the yield to 926.6 kg per mu.

Yuan, 83, can frequently be found plying his trade in the fields. "Book knowledge and computer technologies are important. But we will grow rice only by working in fields," he said.

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