Scientists in China have successfully grown rice using saltwater increasing its growth by two to three times per hectare. It is expected to feed over 200 million people in China.
Research leader Yuan Longping, who is also known as the “Father of Hybrid Rice” in China, partnered with Yuan Ce Biological Technology has achieved this breakthrough.
The experiment took place at Rice Research and Development Centre in Qingdao, a city in Shandong Province, where over 200 rice types were planted and seawater from Yellow Sea was supplied after being diluted.
4.5 tons per hectare were expected to be grown however surprisingly the output increased by two to three times resulting in the growth of 6.5 to 9.3 tons per hectare.
Experiments using the saltwater to grow rice have been going on for a while in China, however, the unexpected growth makes it ready to be commercialized.
Advantages of Saltwater Rice
“Yuan Mi” also comes with additional health benefits. Due to its method of production using saltwater, this type of rice is expected to be rich in various micronutrients which are abundant in saltwater.
Moreover, it also makes the rice immune to pathogenic bacteria, making it less exposed to pests. This would also result in a decreased use of pesticides by farmers.
Yuan Longping told the media that new cultivation methods can feed over 200 million people once the production is done on the large scale.
New rice has been named “Yuan Mi”, in honour of the research leader Yuan Longping himself. It is being sold at 50 yuan per kilogram. This is about eight times the normal price of rice in China. However, the price is expected to come down as production increases.
In spite of the bold price tag, six tons of production have already been sold. Currently packs of 1kg, 2kgs, 5kgs and 10kgs are being sold.
Yuan Ce Biological Technology is expected to make $1.5 million in revenues during its first year thanks to the improved taste and quality. The numbers would increase once production increases.