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Sunday December 17, 2017 01:22 PM

New Chinese saltwater-tolerant rice can feed 200 million people

  • Published at 02:03 PM October 25, 2017
  • Last updated at 04:47 PM October 25, 2017
New Chinese saltwater-tolerant rice can feed 200 million people
Rice growing last month in a saline environment at the Qingdao Saline-Alkaline Tolerant Rice Research and Development CentrePhoto: South China Morning Post/China Foto Press

Using the salt water of Yellow sea, researchers have produced 6.5 to 9.3 tons of rice per hectare whereas their target was to produce 4.5 tons of rice per hectare

In a major agricultural breakthrough, Chinese scientists have managed to grow saltwater-resistant rice which could feed 200 million around the world.

The breakthrough was achieved by Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center who have been experimenting on saline soil tolerant rice strains for long to boost its commercial production, in Qingdao, a Chinese port city bordering the Yellow Sea.


Also Read: Salinity may ruin vast tract of arable coastal land 


Using the salt water of Yellow sea after diluting it, researchers have produced 6.5 to 9.3 tons of rice per hectare whereas their target was to produce 4.5 tons of rice per hectare, according to an article published on nextshark.com.

A Chinese scientist at the Qingdao Saline-Alkaline Tolerant Rice Research and Development Centre shows rice last month that can survive high levels of salinity Photo: South China Morning Post/Imaginechina

Known as “Father of Hybrid Rice,” lead Researcher of this experiment Yuan Longping has initiated the experiment, planting over 200 types of rice in 2016. He told the South China Morning Post that the cultivation of salt resistant rice can feed more than 200 million people.

These rice species are getting popular for its potential health benefits, especial flavor, and texture. These species can be rich in calcium and micronutrients as it grow in a saline environment, reports news.xinhuanet.com. Moreover, working as a disinfectant itself, the salt property in the rice may decrease the use of pesticides.


Also Read: Salinity-triggered migration now alarming 


Qingdao-based startup Yuan Ce Biological Technology, which partnered with Yuan’s team, is now selling the new rice as “Yuan Mi” in honor of the scientist.

“Yuan Mi,” however, costs 50 yuan ($7.50) per kilogram — about eight times more than the cost of ordinary rice. It is currently sold in 1-kilogram (2.2 pounds), 2-kilogram (4.4 pounds), 5-kilogram (11 pounds) and 10-kilogram (22 pounds) packs.

Meanwhile, another Netherlands-based research organisation, Salt Farm Texel, is experimenting on a variety of salt tolerant crops.

The organisation has been working with many NGOs, breeders and farmers across the world and is demonstrating the potential of saline water and soil resources to  for increasing the cultivation of salt tolerant crops.


Also Read: Bangladesh releases 18th stress tolerant paddy variety


Scientists have been experimenting on seawater and saline-soil tolerant rice production for a long time now but salinity, the abiotic constraint, has been yielding plant growth until the recent success.

According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), about 1.5 billion hectares of land around the world is salt affected and this number increases with three hectare every minute. However, the unprecedented success has initiated new pathway of food production in the salt affected areas around the world.

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