26-10-2017 12:00 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Scientists develop rice that grows in sea water
In a path-breaking development, Chinese scientists have been able to grow several types of rice in sea water. They have thus managed to potentially create enough food for 200 million people. The Chinese government has been investigating how to grow rice in salty waters since the 1970s.
For decades, researchers have been trying to grow rice in saline waters, but only now they have developed varieties that are commercially viable.
Scientists from the Qingdao Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center had expected to nearly triple yields, to 4.5 metric tons per hectare. However, their crops exceeded expectations, in one case delivering up to 9.3 tonnes per hectare. Liu Shiping, a professor of agriculture at Yangzhou University was delighted with the results saying that it has exceeded their expectations.
The rice was grown in a field near the Yellow Sea coastal city of Qingdao in China’s eastern Shandong province. They planted 200 different types of the grain to test which would grow best in salty conditions. Seawater was pumped into the fields, diluted and then channelled into rice paddies.
China has one million square kilometres of land where the salinity prevents crops from growing. Scientists hope that the development of new rice will allow some of this land to be used for agriculture.