(Yicai Global) May 31 -- Chinese Sea Rice Research and Development Center has successfully harvested saltwater-tolerant rice from a 'manmade oasis' in a desert in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates to test more agricultural options in the face of harsh climate conditions.
A team of scientists, led by Yuan Longping, academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, planted dozens of hybrid paddy rice varieties in a small field in the inner suburbs of the city, and after five months the first harvest was mature.
The experiment was prompted by an invitation from the private investment office of the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, and aimed to help residents of dry climates to become self-sufficient in staple foods.
Experts from India, Egypt and the UAE measured the crop yield, with one variety yielding more than 82.5 kg of rice per acre, and another two varieties exceeding 66 kg per acre. The results surpassed the predictions, Yuan said. The desert's sandy soil and low levels of water were the biggest challenges facing the experiment, with sea water found 7.5 meters underground.
The project was based on Internet of Things technologies. One sensor-aided pipeline delivered water and fertilizers to the plants' roots, and another pipe collected excess water and nutrients to send them back into the system. An intelligent irrigation system watered the plants based on soil conditions and different requirements during each stage of growth.
Editor: Emmi Laine