A New Strain of Saltwater Rice Could Feed 200 Million People

It's super resistant and super tasty

rice paddy

(beboy / Shutterstock.com)

One of the most pressing issues plaguing our planet is, without a question, hunger. In a huge bid to alleviate this problem, Chinese scientists recently developed a strain of super-tough "saltwater” that farmers can plant and grow in salty water, something that hasn't been possible up until now.

The special rice was developed by the "godfather of rice" Yuan Longping, at the Qingdao Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research And Development Center in Qingdao in eastern China.

Yuan was one of the first scientists to create hybrid rice varieties and nowadays, up to 20 percent of the world’s rice comes from rice species created through his incredible work.

"If a farmer tries to grow some types of saline-tolerant rice now, he or she most likely will get 1,500 kilograms per hectare (1,322 pounds per acre). That is just not profitable and not even worth the effort," Yuan told Chinese state media. "Farmers will have enough incentive to grow the rice if we double the yield."

Years of trait selection, crossbreeding, and genetic analysis were necessary to create the new strain and last year, a first full-scale trial of growing the crop in rice paddies filled with salty water proved successful.

The increase in crop yield gained by this super resistant strain is estimated to be around 55 million tons, enough to feed 200 million people.

Thanks to the amazing work of Yuan and his team, we are one giant step closer to a happier and more just world.

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