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Chinese Rice Technology to Help Eradicate Global Famine
China's advanced breeding and genetic technologies will make help eradicate global famine as the country cooperates still more with others in rice technology, experts attending the 1st International Rice Congress said.

Wang Ren, deputy-director of the International Rice Research Institute, said China has achieved a great deal in rice research since the early 1970s, which has not only helped solve its food problems but has served as an example for developing countries' fight against famine and food shortage.

According to statistics from the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (UNFAO), rice is a daily staple for 3 billion people around the world, and 2 billion Asians obtain 80 percent of their needed calories from rice.

Peter Kenmoore of the UNFAO said that throughout Asian history rice shortage has caused large-scale famine, death and social turmoils, while a bumper rice harvest contributed considerably to social development.

Wang Ren said that China's rice scientists, represented by Professor Yuan Longping, have made great breakthroughs in hybrid rice technology, which is significant for developing countries' rice production.

Since the 1990s, China has continuously sent rice specialists to Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Burma, Vietnam and other countries to teach about hybrid rice and other technologies.

At present, many developing nations have started to adopt and spread Chinese rice technology. U.N. statistics show that by the end of 2001, excluding China, Asia had approximately 800,000 hectares of cropland planted with high yield hybrid rice.

A great number of developing countries have found hope and confidence that they can make the same achievements as China, Wang said, expressing the belief that advanced breeding technologyis a good way to raise rice output and solve food problems.

Sources from China's rice research institutes said that on the basis of the recently concluded rice genome framework map, China will soon launch the rice functional genome research project with an investment of over 100 million yuan (12 million US dollars).

Moreover, Wang said, sharing the secret of rice genes is solelyfor the global public welfare and will greatly change scientific research on such fields as rice breeding and the prevention and eradication of pests.

Famine is still a grave problem facing human beings, he acknowledged. Up to 800 million people in the world are suffering from food shortage and each year 14 million children under the ageof four die from hunger.

"With the increase in its government's investment in rice research and its scientists' concerted efforts, China will surely make a greater contribution to the eradication of global famine," Wang said.

( Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2002)

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