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China launches hybrid rice training base for foreign agrotechnicians

CHANGSHA, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- A training base aiming to help foreign agrotechnicians and governmental officials acquire China's world-leading hybrid-rice cultivating technique was officially launched on Sunday.

    The Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture, a state-owned company named after "the Father of China's Hybrid Rice", has aimed to train 5,000 foreigners, establish 10 breeding centers and expand overseas cultivation bases to 10,000 hectares in 10 years so that countries receiving China's technical assistance in hybrid rice could breed new crop varieties and reap harvest on their home turf.

    Established in June 1999, the company boasting of a research team headed by Academician Yuan Longping was designated as China's first training base for the spread of hybrid rice breeding and cultivation technique by the Ministry of Commerce on Sunday.

    But such training had begun long before the arrival of the honor. It has so far trained more than 2,000 government officials and agrotechnicians from 50 countries through 30 training courses.

    Board Chairman Wu Yueshi believed that the recognition from the Ministry of Commerce would speed up China's training of overseas agricultural personnel.

    "Without skilled technicians and well-informed government officials, hybrid-rice breeding and cultivation techniques could not be spread far across the world, let alone ease global grain crops shortage," said Wu.

    Antonio Mende Tavares, an agricultural official from Guinea-Bissau who was here for a three-month training, said that he couldn't wait going back home to spread the technique as rice had become a grain crops of strategic importance to national economy.

    His training course was to end next Saturday.

    Tavares said that China and Guinea-Bissau would deepen their collaboration in hybrid-rice cultivation next year. And in the following three years, the planting area would expand from the initial 200 hectares to 1,000 hectares.

    Minister Miata Beysolow of Commerce and Industry of Liberia said that Liberia would practice China's hybrid-rice technique first within colleges and governmental departments.

    If this year's output exceeded last year's, China's technique would be encouraged across the nation, she said, adding that Liberia hoped to share China's up-to-date technique in hybrid-rice breeding and planting.

    China started to develop hybrid-rice since the 1960s. When relevant technique invented by Yuan Longping was applied during the past two decades, Chinese farmers were estimated to have harvested 300 billion kilograms more in aggregate output. The hybrid-rice was thus called as super rice.

    At a ministerial forum on the collaboration of hybrid-rice technique in Changsha, Yuan Longping, 79, aimed high.

    "I hope that when I was 90 years old, the per mu yield of super rice could hit 1,000 kilograms," he said. "If the acres under hybrid rice reached half of the total rice planting area, the world's total rice output could increase by 150 million tons a year, enough to feed 400 million more people."

Xinhua Editor: Ya
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