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Chinese rice trials promise solution to African food shortages

By Hou Liqiang | | Updated: 2017-05-11 10:41

Large harvests of Chinese rice planted in Africa have raised hopes on the continent of greater grain yields to combat food shortages, a Chinese scientist has said.

"Trial plantings of quality Chinese crop varieties in Africa have shown promising results," Wang Qingfeng, director of the Sino-Africa Joint Research Center in Kenya, said at a news briefing in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Monday.

Wang, who is also deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Wuhan Botanical Garden, said more than a dozen varieties have been planted in African countries, including Kenya. At least three suit the local soil and water conditions will be chosen for production, he said.

Hybrid rice planted in Kenya has yielded an average 6,000 to 7,500 kilograms per hectare, while the average yield of local rice is about 1,500 kg per hectare, he said.

China has helped African nations when their grain harvests have been affected by drought, but what the research center is doing represents a change to this aid strategy, Wang said.

The center, which was opened in September at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, focuses on biodiversity protection, remote resources sensing, microbiology, and the promotion of modern agricultural practices.

It covers 4,300 square meters and comprises a botanical garden, state-of-the-art laboratories, herbaria, greenhouses, administration offices, and conference and accommodation facilities.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences supports its management and has donated equipment worth more than $2.2 million.

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