Pakistan, China to set up hybrid rice research centre

Joint centre will boost yield to improve domestic food security and supplement export


August 15, 2020

WUHAN:

Academic institutes of Pakistan and China are working to jointly launch a research centre for hybrid rice.

The Wuhan University-University of Punjab Joint Research Centre for Honglian Hybrid Rice is going to become operational this year, revealed official website of China Association for Science and Technology.

This move will boost development of high-yield hybrid rice in Pakistan to improve domestic food security, in addition to supplementing rice export.

Honglian hybrid rice is one of the three major types of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) of rice (Oryza sativa L) that has been commercially used in hybrid rice seed production.

The production of Honglian hybrid rice in Pakistan can reach around 7,500kg per hectare, nearly three times as much as that of many other rice varieties, said Zhu Renshan, professor-level senior engineer of Wuhan University who is in charge of the international cooperation on this type of rice.

"A lot of hybrid rice varieties' high-yield performance is only confined to a specific area. In contrast, Honglian hybrid rice can create bumper harvest not only in China but also in many other countries like Pakistan," Zhu Renshan said.

Honglian hybrid rice adapts well to Pakistan's climate. Even under extreme high temperature or changeable weather, the seed setting rate is still stable, much higher than that of other hybrid rice varieties.

Moreover, Honglian rice seed production costs less therefore farmers can get higher income at the same investment.

Punjab Agriculture Extension Director Shahzad Sabir and professors from the University of Punjab praised Honglian hybrid rice's feature of heat-tolerance and adaptability, which suits Pakistan's climate.

Having seen Honglian hybrid rice do well in the six experimental plots in Pakistan, professionals of the two countries are confident in its future performance when sowed at a large scale.

Next, besides lifting local cultivation, the research centre is planning a series of technical cooperation and scientific research. Seed production technologies will be gradually transferred to Pakistan. Furthermore, they will also provide technical support on pest control.

Though the Covid-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc in the world, Pak-Sino cooperation related to Honglian hybrid rice keeps progressing.

Earlier this year, the research team of Wuhan University delivered seeds from China to Pakistan via international logistics, and the rice will be harvested in October.

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE CHINA ECONOMIC NET

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2020.

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