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World Offered to Share Chinese Rice Research Results
China -- the world's largest rice producer and consumer -- has offered to share with the world its relatively-advanced technologies of rice production, including its latest achievements in decoding the rice genome, according to the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE).

"China is willing to share all of its latest rice genome decoding achievements and to discuss with international expertise on the further utilization of the breakthroughs," said Xuan Zengpei, deputy director of the international co-operation department under the CAE.

On April 4, Chinese scientists unveiled the first draft of the genome sequence of indica, the most widely cultivated rice subspecies in China and other Asian regions.

Shen Guofang, vice-president of the CAE, said Friday in Beijing China will spare no efforts to promote the international exchange of rice production technologies, especially to strengthen the co-operation with developing countries in this field.

According to Shen, the CAE, along with some other government departments and research institutions, is preparing for the first ever "International Rice Congress,'' to be held in Beijing on September 16-19, which will discuss the latest scientific breakthroughs like the draft of the rice genome subsequence, international rice trading and rice culture.

Song Jian, vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and honorary chairman of the congress organizing committee, said the unprecedented international gathering of scientists, businesses and government leaders at the congress will help "renew the efforts to improve the livelihoods of the world's millions of poor, and generally deprived, rice farmers.''

Rice experts from Japan and the United States will join domestic scientists to discuss the function of the rice genome subsequence, as well as genetically-modified rice products, according to Zhai Huqu, president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) -- another organizer of the congress.

The Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute and the State Development Planning Commission will also join the organization of the congress, along with the CAAS and the CAE.

Rice feeds almost half of the planet (approximately 2.6 billion people) daily and provides the core income of hundreds of millions of poor rural households.

China boasts one-fifth of the world's total rice paddy fields, and the country's unit yield of rice is 1.6 times larger than the world's average level, according to CAE statistics.

(China Daily May 11, 2002)

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