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Research center attempts to plant grain on saline land
2016-10-23    

A research and development center focusing on "sea rice" agriculture is expected to produce quality grain on saline and alkaline land, according to a signing ceremony on Wednesday in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province.

Based in Qingdao Licang District, the new center will invest 100 million yuan ($14.8 million) at the initiative stage and is expected to reach over 2 billion yuan in the future.

Yuan Longping, dubbed the "father of hybrid rice", serves as the director and chief scientist for the center.

Sea rice is a product created with genetic engineering technology. Irrigated by sea water with its salinity no lower than one percent, it can yield 200 to 300 kg per mu (0.06 hectares).

The center plans to start planting sea rice next April and it is expected to be harvested next autumn, said Yuan, who is also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

"Sea rice growing out of saline and alkaline land has more mineral content than ordinary rice because sea water contains high microelement," Yuan said.

"Besides, sea rice rows in a wild environment don't suffer [from] plant diseases and insect pests."

According to relevant research, inland China has 1.5 billion mu of saline and alkaline land and 200 million mu of the land has the potential to plant sea rice.

If the availability is at full capacity, a total of 50 billion kg more grain can be produced, which can feed 200 million people.

"Our aim is to develop a product of sea rice yielding of 300 kg per mu in three years," Yuan added.

(From China Daily, 2016-10-13)