Yuan Longping, Father Of Hybrid Rice, Dies Aged 91

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2021-05-22 HKT 17:34

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  • The late agronomist Yuan Longping attends a meeting in Hunan Hybrid Rice Research Centre in Changsha. File photo: AFP

    The late agronomist Yuan Longping attends a meeting in Hunan Hybrid Rice Research Centre in Changsha. File photo: AFP

Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping, who was known for developing the first hybrid rice strains, died at age 91 in the central province of Hunan on Saturday, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Yuan, born in September 1930, helped China come up with the hybrid rice needed to feed nearly one-fifth of the world's population with less than 9% of the world's land, Xinhua said in a story in 2019.

Yuan was respected in China, whose vast population was hit hard by food shortages in the mid-20th century.

Shortly after a serious nationwide famine in the 1960s, Yuan devoted himself to researching how to boost harvests, cultivating the world's first high-yielding hybrid rice strain in 1973.

Yuan's team had also been working on developing saline-alkaline tolerant rice and was invited to make a trial plantation of that strain in Dubai in 2018, Xinhua said.

Yuan died of organ failure in a hospital in Changsha, official newspaper Hunan Daily said. (Reuters)