'Food security is the key'
O: What are the reasons for the present worldwide food crisis?
Y: Firstly it's the oil price hike. Many food exporting countries like the US and Argentina have switched to producing bio-fuels, for instance by fermenting corn into alcohol. Secondly, global warming is reducing yields. Research shows an increase of one degree centigrade reduces output by 2 percent. Then there is the unstable political situation in some states which is also affecting agriculture.
O: How can we deal with these problems?
Y: By increasing crop yields. Countries can solve their food problems by using our hybrid rice.
O: Since 2007, the food crisis has been affecting the entire world. Although China has not been badly affected, our food security prognosis is not good. This April, Premier Wen Jiabao said "food in the hand means a carefree heart." What's your view?
Y: I agree. Food security is the most significant factor regarding the national economy and people's livelihood. When our country suffered the three-year natural disasters in the early 1960s, many people starved to death.
O: What is the outlook for the food crisis, when will food prices start to fall and how long will high prices last?
Y: Experts reckon food prices won't fall anytime soon. Food production is mechanized and needs oil. So as the oil price increases, the cost of food will go up as well.
'Never seek quality at the expense of output'
O: Your "super hybrid rice" is expected to exceed 900 kilograms per mu (666.67 square meters), which is great news.
Y: In fact when I was interviewed, I said "some fields might yield 900 kilograms per mu." But the press reported me as saying "we expect to reach 900 kilograms next month." When we randomly chose three fields out of 57, two turned out to be low-yield, while the third reached 880 kilograms per mu, just less than 900.
It's impossible to reach 900 now. Our plan is to reach 900 in 2015 and hopefully we will get there three to five years ahead of schedule. I'm pretty confident of that.