(Yicai Global) Sept. 8 -- Yuan Longping, China's 'Father of Hybrid Rice,' said on Thursday that he intends to cultivate high-yield seawater hybrid rice species in three years that can live in 0.3 percent to 0.9 percent concentration seawater and produce more than 300 kilograms per mu (2.22 kilograms per square meter).
"In the future, we plan to expand the planting area of seawater rice growing on saline-alkali soil to 100 million mu," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying at a forum in Qingdao in Shandong province. "Based on the calculation of the minimum unit-yield of 300 kilograms, we can lift the aggregate production to 30 billion kilos, equivalent to the annual total grain output in Hunan province, one of the main rice provinces in China."
The world has 14.25 billion mu of saline-alkali lands, and 4.8 billion mu are in Asia, Yuan said. Exploitation and utilization of saline-alkali land is very important in ensuring global and domestic grain supply, he said. The cultivation of seawater hybrid rice can take advantage of saline-alkali soil to dramatically improve grain yield, and the relevant technology is maturing, said Yuan.
Yuan's team set up a seawater rice research and development center in Qingdao last year, planning to initially plant seawater hybrid rice on 1,000 mu by 2018 and on 100,000 mu by 2019.