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"Super rice" strains set to increase production
The yield of rice, a staple food for most Chinese, could double if super strains are planted.

Yuan Longping, China's "Father of Super Rice," yesterday disclosed that the latest variety is well on track to produce up to 13.5 tons a hectare compared with an average 6.5 tons per hectare for conventional seeds.

Speaking at the China Rice Summit Forum, he said the first two phases of the "national super rice breeding project" yielded 10.5 tons and 12 tons per hectare in pilot farms in 2000 and 2004, respectively.

Earlier, a dozen strains of the super crop planted in 7.46 million hectares for five years from 1998 increased output by 6.5 million tons, indicated statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture.

"We are working towards the goal of producing 13.5 tons a hectare, and I'm confident it will be reached by 2010," Xinhua News Agency quoted Yuan as telling the forum in Changsha, capital of Central China's Hunan Province.

The Chinese people should not only solve food problems for themselves, but also help other developing nations, he said, referring to the export of the super rice technology to some countries.

The country started a "super rice" pilot project in 1996 to improving production and quality of rice eaten regularly by more than 60 per cent of China's population and which accounts for 40 per cent of the country's total grain consumption.

To take full advantage of the strains, the central government has decided to launch a super rice popularization programme this year.

Twenty leading super rice strains will be cultivated in six years from 2005, sown in 8.52 million hectares, or 30 per cent of China's total paddy fields, ministry officials said.

Output is projected to increase by 900 kilograms per hectare, they said.

Drops in per-hectare yield of rice paddies have partially contributed to China's dwindling rice output from 198.5 million tons in 1999 to 160.7 million tons in 2003. Last year, it rose to 179 million tons, indicated ministry statistics.

Increasing output is therefore important to safeguard grain security, said Cheng Shihua, head of the National Rice Research Institute in East China's Zhejiang Province.

The Ministry of Agriculture said it has asked 12 grain-producing provinces to raise output by sowing a combined 4 million hectares of super rice this year to reverse drops in per-hectare yields.

The provinces include Guangdong, Fujian, Hunan, Hubei and Sichuan.

China's grain production, including rice, wheat, corn, and other food grain, amounted to 469.5 million tons in 2004.

This year, the country's grain output is forecast to hit 480 million tons.
MGR Archive 4.12.2005
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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