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Rice for 200 million people

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And if a discovery could feed the planet?

According to MaxiSciences, Chinese scientists have managed to develop a brand new variety of rice that could feed 200 million people. What is special about this rice is that it can be grown in salt water. For example, China – hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of land are unproductive due to their high salinity – could therefore produce the new rice named Yuan Mi in honor of the project’s promoter.

This rice is a salt-resistant hybrid, as proposed by researchers at Yangzhou University, so could be grown where it was impossible before. Here is what MaxiSciencesreports on this project. “The idea of ​​rice” Yuan Mi “is born from a finding: some types of wild rice already have the ability to withstand high salinity, but their yields are relatively low. The specialists therefore selected, crossed and analyzed the genetics of different varieties to develop a brand new one. The experience has been successful and results very promising. While researchers thought they could produce up to 4.5 tonnes of this rice per hectare, they eventually grew it between 6.5 and 9.3 tonnes. So much more than what we could get so far with already resistant varieties. “

According to calculations estimated by the research team, with this new method and this new rice, China could produce nearly 50 tons of rice each year, which could feed more than 200 million people.

Did you know? Every year, 500 million tons of rice are produced worldwide, making it the second most important food grain after maize.

Dr. Kanika Singla

Ph.D., IARI Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley

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