China’s ‘Green Super Rice’ Aims To Reduce Hunger And Build Up Farmers’ Income

A vendor rests in her market stand that sells rice in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, September 5, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with Beijing to spearhead a joint project that supports Chinese agriculture scientists in their study of new rice varieties called "Green Super Rice." The rice varieties are expected to offer sustainable agriculture practices for farmers in Africa and Asia.

According to Xinhua, "Green Super Rice" or GSR is expected to help Asian and African regions reduce hunger while helping farmers boost their income through sustainable farming practices.

Since GSR varieties have been bred for sustainability, these can bring forth stable produce. Compared to other rice types, these varieties require less water and fertilizers. They are also more tolerant in extreme weather conditions and can withstand some diseases.

Green Super Rice varieties were grown in a temperate zone in China as part of the initiative's goal of supplying demand in tropical regions. Since they have been bred to withstand tough conditions, these varieties can reach an average of 0.89 to 1.83 tonnes of increase per hectare.

"I like GSR because its grains are good and are considerably heavier than previous rice grains I tried in the past. The crop is tolerant to pests and diseases," one of the first few farmers who tried growing the Green Super Rice variety, Montano, said.

Ever since the project kicked off, it has yielded 78 GSR varieties for a total of 18 countries. These countries make up a growing area of 6.12 million hectares. Among the Asian countries that will receive these varieties are the Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, and more. Nine African states are also part of the target countries.

Meanwhile, Technology Times Pakistan reported that a team of Chinese researchers led by Professor Yang Donglei of the State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement and NAU in East China's Jiangsu Province developed a rice gene that offers high yields.

The rice gene has been coded as the Ideal Plant Architecture1 (IPA1) and is said to be disease resistant. According to the outlet, the new rice train yields thicker stems and larger spikes compared to current strains in the global market.

China's work on sustainable agriculture has been booming over the past years. A case study jointly conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, McGill University, and Stanford University, found out that farmers who considered environmental effects of agriculture practices yielded more income.

The study revealed that China's new approach in agriculture can help farmers manage their lands and crops efficiently for environmental and economic benefits. 

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