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Chinese hybrid rice takes root in Ecuador
China Daily, September 2, 2004
Chinese hybrid rice has taken root half a world away in Ecuador, where the high-yield, top quality rice has been well received by local farmers and processors.

"It has won the hearts of many farmers and triggered a fever for Chinese hybrid rice among leading Ecuadorian food processors," said Xu Jingbo, a hybrid rice expert sent to Ecuador by Yahua Seeds Holding Co based in the Central China's Hunan Province.

Xu, also an official with the provincial agricultural department, headed an eight-member expert panel to the equatorial country three years ago to carry out field tests under a Sino-Ecuadorian co-operation programme designed to promote hybrid rice. The Yahua company and its Ecuadorian partner Reybanpac have been chosen to implement the programme.

The trial has been so successful that Xu estimates total acreage of the hybrid rice in Ecuador will top 660 hectares this year.

"We have developed Ecuador's first hybrid rice brand, the Mirey, based on three high-yield, top quality rice strains from China," said Xu. "It has been applauded by local consumers."

Meanwhile, Ecuador has ordered 40 tons of hybrid rice seeds from China over the past three years.

The hybrid brand takes only 84 to 105 days to grow, at least 20 days shorter than the average life cycle of locally grown strains, Xu said. Its average selling price, however, is more than US$275 per ton, nearly 40 per cent higher than the average market price for rice, which is US$200.

Xu said his team had also recorded breakthroughs in seed studies, opening up the possibility that Yahua Seeds Holding Co will set up a seed base in South America.

Ecuador, with a population of 12.6 million, grows some 260,000 hectares of rice but its yield per hectare is only 50 per cent of China's recent rice production.

The Chinese experts are offering systematic training on hybrid rice growing to Ecuadorian technicians and planning to promote Chinese technologies there in the next five to 10 years.

Xu's team also plans to carry out tests in other South American countries including Peru, Colombia and Brazil, all of which are ideal places to plant hybrid rice.

Known as "oriental magic rice," the hybrid was developed by Chinese scientist Yuan Longping in the late 1990s.

Hunan Province boasts China's largest area of rice fields.
MGR Archive 2.9.2004
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Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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