Chinese rice growing in saline soil

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Growing rice in saline soils with a view to freeing up land suitable for other crops. This is the ingenious goal of an agronomic project of the government of the People’s Republic of China, which also receives support from Alibaba.

Salt-friendly rice

The hybrid rice targeted by the Chinese agronomic project is the result of selection carried out over half a century of research by Professor Yuan Longping, an award-winning agronomist now 88 years old. And it will be a crucial resource for the security of food supplies in the Middle Empire, where as much as 99 million hectares of alkaline land (10 percent of the planet-wide total) are available.

Experimental cultivation conducted in 2017 in northern China’s Hebei province had yields in the range of 17 tons of rice per hectare. Professor Longping therefore considers that growing this type of rice on only 6.7 million hectares of saline land will enable China to produce 30 million tons more rice. How much is needed to feed 80 million individuals.

Rice in the desert

The Chinese miracle of rice farming has already been successfully experimented in Dubai as well, where hybrid rice has been grown in desert areas. And thanks to innovative irrigation systems-which convey water directly to the roots of the plant-the crop in dry soils had a yield of more than 7.5 tons per hectare.

This positive experience will therefore be extended to more than 10 percent of the UAE’s land, People’s Daily Online reports.

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".