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China to tighten assessment of hybrid rice varieties

Updated: Apr 14,2015 5:12 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The assessment of hybrid rice varieties will be reviewed following substantial loses by farmers, a senior official said on April 14.

The hybrid rice variety Liangyou 0293, developed by Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture Co. Ltd. (Longping High-Tech), is vulnerable to rice blast. Farmers growing this variety in east China’s Anhui province reported massive crop failure after it was infected with rice blast, a serious fungal disease.

Zhang Taolin, vice-minister of agriculture, said at a press conference held at the State Council Information Office that a rice variety assessed as suitable for one location may not be appropriate for another.

“We need to cultivate a more resilient rice variety,” said Zhang.

More than 10,000 mu (about 667 hectares) of rice had low yield or even outright crop failure last October, according to the provincial seed management station in Anhui. The province planted around 40 million mu of rice last year, including 180,000 mu of Liangyou 0293.

Longping High-tech, was established by Hunan Academy of Agricultural Sciences in 1999. Yuan Longping, the “father of hybrid rice” is its honorary chairman and shareholder, according to the company’s official website.

Liangyou 0293 has been available in China for eight years. In Hunan, where Longping High Tech is headquartered, it has been replaced by more resilient varieties.