Chinese scientists are claiming to have achieved a crucial agricultural breakthrough, growing high-yield rice in salt water.
The new strain has been previously tried and tested, but scientists from the Qingdao Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center reportedly managed to nearly triple yields, to 4.5 metric tons per hectare, making it ready for commercialization.
Saltwater cultivation may boost China’s rice production by nearly 20 percent and will be able to feed more than 200 million people, according to the research leader Yuan Longping, known as China’s ‘father of hybrid rice.’
The new type of hybrid rice has been grown among 200 varieties of rice in Qingdao, a coastal city in eastern China’s Shandong Province. The researchers pumped and diluted seawater from the Yellow Sea, and then channeled it into the rice paddy fields.