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China Accelerates Cultivation of High-yield Super Rice

China expanded the acreage of super high-yield rice by almost 14 percent to 5.33 million hectares this year in a bid to produce more food for its growing population, an agricultural official said on Monday.

Zhang Fengtong, director of the Science and Education Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, said the average yield of early super rice per hectare in Shanggao County in Jiangxi Province, east China, was 7,297.5 kilograms, 948 kilograms more than non-super rice strains.

The super rice strains led to high yields and better economic returns for growers, said Zhang at a meeting on demonstration projects of super rice strains in Jiangxi Province.

The super rice strains have enabled rice growers in Shanggao to get an additional 1,605 yuan (about US$200) from each hectare, said Zhang.

The acreage of super rice in Shanghao was 23,333 hectares this year, accounting for 58.3 percent of the county's total rice acreage.

Zhang said 61 varieties of super rice strains, with high yields and improved quality, had been recommended by the ministry and local governments this year.

Last year, the ministry said China would speed up cultivation of new super rice varieties in the next 15 years to raise rice yields to 13.5 tons a hectare as early as possible.

The government started the "super rice" project in 1996 to improve the production and quality of rice, which accounts for 40 percent of the country's total grain consumption and is the staple food of more than 60 percent of its 1.3 billion population.

(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2007)

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