China will launch a special scientific research project to develop a new super rice strain, expected to produce a bumper harvest of 14.9 metric tons a hectare, Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu said on Tuesday.

The project, to be undertaken by agricultural scientist Yuan Longping, known as the "father of hybrid rice" for developing the first hybrid rice varieties in the 1970s, will realize its target within the next five to eight years, Han said in Sanya, Hainan province.

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

So far, the country has approved 96 varieties of new super rice strains, with planting areas reaching 7.4 million hectares, or nearly a quarter of the country's rice fields, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

In November, a super rice strain called Yongyou 12 produced a harvest of 14.38 tons a hectare at an 8.5-hectare demonstration base in Ningbo, Zhejiang province.
SOURCE: China Daily


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