A special gift at the tomb of Yuan Longping

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BEIJING, July 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A news report by China.org.cn on ChinaAfrica agricultural cooperation:

Recently, a special gift – a bowl of hybrid rice from Africa, appeared at the tomb of Mr. Yuan Longping, father of the hybrid rice. The gift was brought by Rakotoson Philibert, former Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Madagascar Republic, who came to China for the third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo. A simple bowl of rice harbored the sincerest commemoration from the Madagascar people.

For many years, it was China’s hybrid rice technology that freed the people on this African island nation from hunger.

In 2007, with the support of China, a Hybrid Rice Demonstration Project in Madagascar was established. Before that, the Madagascar’s rice yield was totally at the mercy of the elements. Due to the lack of mature rice growing techniques and premium seeds, the original yield of the country failed to feed its people at all.

Several dozens of Chinese agricultural specialists went to Madagascar, bringing along over 80 rice varieties. They spent year after year experimenting with these varieties in the fields, before finally selecting three of them that could be planted all over the island nation. Be it humid rainforests, or arid tropical plateaus, these Chinese experts left their footprints in every significant rice growing area across the island.

Many unimaginable challenges faced these pioneers. Hurricanes favor Madagascar, and storms came whenever they want. As a result, puddles are a common occurrence. Given the weak infrastructure, a lot of villages experienced power, water or Internet outages. More technical difficulties also ensued: For example, there is a type of local frog that loves to eat rice or a type of chameleon that like “surfing” in the ripening rice fields, providing detrimental to crop growth and eating away into rice yields.

With perseverance and wisdom, the experts from China overcame these challenges bit by bit. So far, over 50,000 acres of hybrid rice introduced from China have been planted in Madagascar, with a yield of about 7.5 tons per acre. The number is about two to three times the average per unit yield of local rice varieties. Rice of such yield has protected several million people from the threat of chronic hunger.

In fact, this touching story was made known to the world in 2017. At that time, a note of the new version of Malagasy Ariary with the pattern of hybrid rice on it was handed to Mr. Yuan Longping. Now, this heavy bowl of rice again glorifies the sound friendship between China and Africa on agricultural cooperation.

Since the 1950s, China has not only provided African countries with the “fish” – a large amount of food, but also “taught them how to fish”: In Burundi, Chinese experts elected eight varieties of rice suitable for local planting, putting an end to the long-existing problem of yield decrease or even crop failure caused by rice blast in mountainous areas; in Kenya, the local demonstration zone adopted Chinese techniques to grow corn, increasing the yield by 99%-240%; after the outbreak of COVID-19, a batch of water-conserving and drought-resistant rice seeds were shipped all the way from China to Botswana, which yielded harvests after two years of breeding. For a long time before that, Botswana had not grown a grain of rice in its fields.

For Yuan Longping, the welfare of people all over the world is one of his lifelong wishes. Now, China has sent over 2,000 agricultural experts and technicians to over 70 countries and regions globally, and has promoted over 1,500 techniques in multiple countries. Carrying out pragmatic cooperation in poverty alleviation and food security, leaving no country and no person behind, are acts and philosophies in line with the Global Development Initiative proposed by China.

A seed can bring experience to developing countries, and a spikelet can improve people’s lives in a country. Together, they connect a community of shared development for humanity.

China Mosaic


A special gift at the tomb of Yuan Longping


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SOURCE China.org.cn

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