In­ter­est sprouts in Yun­nan’s hy­brid rice south of the bor­der

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By YANG ZIMAN yangz­i­man@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Nearly two decades of re­search and de­vel­op­ment by Yun­nan prov­ince’s agri­cul­tural in­sti­tutes and com­pa­nies to pro­duce high-qual­ity hy­brid rice is cul­ti­vat­ing in­ter­est across South and South­east Asia.

“Its unique hearty fla­vor ap­peals to many peo­ple. The crop is also short in height, which is an ad­van­tage in windy ter­rain,” said Lu Yix­uan, a re­searcher at the Yun­nan Academy of Agri­cul­tural Sci­ences.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­vin­cial depart­ment of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, there are nearly 67,000 hectares across Viet­nam, Laos, Myan­mar, Pak­istan, In­done­sia and Bangladesh cur­rently grow­ing hy­brid rice first de­vel­oped in Yun­nan.

In re­cent years, more than 1,000 agri­cul­tural tech­ni­cians from Yun­nan have vis­ited th­ese coun­tries to teach farm­ers how to cor­rectly grow the rice.

As of 2014, hy­brid rice ac­counted for 30 per­cent of China’s rice-grow­ing land, with more than 9.07 mil­lion hectares na­tion­wide.

It is pro­duced by cross­breed­ing dif­fer­ent types of rice and is prized for its high out­put. Yun­nan’s hy­brid rice, the re­gion’s ex­perts said, can be har­vested sev­eral times a year.

“Yun­nan rice has strong roots and re­sis­tance to pests. We have also de­vel­oped a few types of peren­nial hy­brids that can sur­vive the win­ter, which most rice can­not,” said Hu Fengyi, a re­searcher at the Yun­nan Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity.

One ma­jor rea­son why Yun­nan hy­brid rice has spread south of the bor­der is the con­nec­tiv­ity brought about by Road Ini­tia­tive.

“The ini­tia­tive has pushed Yun­nan to the front­line of China’s na­tional econ­omy,” said Long Jiang, di­rec­tor of the depart­ment of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy of Yun­nan. “Through the plan, the rice de­vel­oped in our prov­ince is now go­ing global.”

Rice de­vel­op­ers in Yun­nan have es­tab­lished agri­cul­tural tech­nol­ogy parks in Myan­mar, Laos, Viet­nam, Bangladesh and Cam­bo­dia, and demon­stra­tion bases in Viet­nam, Myan­mar and Laos, Long added.

“The av­er­age out­put of Yun­nan­de­vel­oped rice in th­ese coun­tries is

the

Belt and 6,000 kilo­grams per hectare, in large part be­cause of our tech­nol­ogy,” said Long.

Wu Xue­hua, a deputy di­rec­tor at Yun­nanJin­rui Seed In­dus­tryCo Ltd, said the com­pany has sta­tioned its tech­ni­cians at its demon­stra­tion fields in Laos andMyan­mar to teach rice-grow­ing tech­niques.

In Man­dalay, Myan­mar, Jin­rui re­cently signed an agree­ment to share its farm­ing tech­niques with lo­cal farm­ers.

As part of the deal, the farm­ers are re­quired to grow the com­pany’s hy­brid rice, for which Jin­rui will pur­chase it at 2.2 yuan (34 cents) per kilo­gram, far higher than the av­er­age price of 1.4 yuan to 1.6 yuan per kilo­gram in Yun­nan.

“Our rice grown over­seas is high de­mand in China,” saidWu.

Hu, the re­searcher at Yun­nan Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity, said there are cur­rently more than 330 hectares of peren­nial hy­brid rice fields in Yun­nan and that the prov­ince plans to in­tro­duce this type of rice over­seas in the near fu­ture.

“Peren­nial rice has gen­er­ated a lot of ben­e­fits,” said Dai Luyuan, vice-pres­i­dent of the Yun­nan As­so­ci­a­tion for Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy. “Not only has it brought down costs and but it is able to pre­vent the loss of soil.”

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