O: Can you predict the maximum yield of "super hybrid rice"?
Y: Most experts agree the sunlight utilization ratio of rice is 2.5 percent at most. On this basis the maximum yield may reach 1,500 kilograms per mu.
O: Why is the hybrid rice so popular? Because it tastes good?
Y: It's one reason. As living standards rise, people demand better food. So we have adjusted our targets to include quality as well as yield.
However, I always stuck to one principle; never seek quality at the expense of output. There's a contradiction between a high yield and high quality, but it's not absolute. We have proved that with super hybrid rice.
The technology of hybrid rice needs better promotion
O: Are there any obstacles to the spread of hybrid rice technology?
Y: We have met some problems. One Africa country managed to increase its rice yields but had to reduce its planting area due to financial problems.
Although China has made achievements with hybrid rice, it needs to be promoted better. If we can get more than half of paddy lands in the world growing hybrid rice, output can increase by 2250 kilograms per hectare and this could feed a population of 450 million. It is a very important issue right now because of the worldwide rice shortage.
O: Hybrid rice was the first agricultural patent exported to the United States. How has it fared there?
Y: The planted area of hybrid rice has reached one third that of normal rice in the main rice growing areas of southern US.
O: How has hybrid rice benefited other countries?
Y: To give just one example; for one African country the cost of importing 1.5 to 2 million kilograms of rice annually reached more than 1 billion dollars, three times higher than previously. They could not afford it. It was a far better option to produce it themselves, and with the help of Chinese scientists, they increased yields by 50 percent.