26

2018

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07

Yuan Longping's team successfully planted sea rice in Dubai desert

Author:


The Chinese government has made it clear that it is willing to assume more responsibilities and obligations within its capacity, and make greater contributions to the agricultural development and economic growth of countries along the route and the world, and to building a community with a shared future for mankind. Mr. Yuan Longping, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, is known as the "father of hybrid rice". The sea rice team led by him, Qingdao Sea Rice Research and Development Center, made a major technological breakthrough on September 28, 2017 and achieved the success of sea rice production testing, which attracted wide attention in the world.

His Highness Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Chief of Dubai, attaches great importance to the food security issue in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and the entire Middle East and North Africa region, and hopes that through his efforts, countries in the Middle East and North Africa will solve the long-troubled dilemma of self-sufficiency in food crops, eliminate hunger and bring peace and prosperity to these food-deficient countries. After learning that the sea rice team led by Mr. Yuan Longping had achieved successful yield test in China, His Royal Highness appointed staff to contact the sea rice team quickly and invited Yuan Longping sea rice team to Dubai desert area to carry out experimental planting of sea rice through his private office in November 2017. The sea rice team adheres to the spirit of the "Belt and Road" initiative. With the support of Mr. Yuan Longping, after many consultations, the sea rice team quickly reached a cooperation agreement with the chief's team. The two sides agreed to establish a long-term and stable strategic cooperative relationship for scientific research and industrialization promotion. Promote sea rice cultivation in Dubai and the Middle East and North Africa.

The sea rice team started the project construction in Dubai on January 8, 2018. From May to July, more than 80 rice varieties including sea rice were matured in batches. An international joint yield measurement expert group composed of five experts from the International Rice Institute, India, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and China conducted yield measurement on the first batch of mature varieties on May 26. Mr. Ye Guoyou, head of the expert group from the International Rice Institute, announced that the measured yields of the five varieties numbered YCLJ59, YCYJ48, YCRN4H, YCSTU9712 and YCLJ58 are 7.8041 tons/hectare, 7.4106 tons/hectare, 7.3076 tons/hectare, 5.952 tons/hectare and 4.8266 tons/hectare respectively, which exceed the world average per mu yield of 4.539 tons/hectare (from FAO statistics in 2014). In the following period of time, the sea rice team tested the yield of the gradually mature varieties, and obtained 4 varieties that exceeded the world's average yield per mu. This marks the success of the sea rice team in the sea rice experiment in the desert area of Dubai.

His Royal Highness Mohamed bin Rashid attached great importance to the staged success of sea rice. In order to commemorate this historic breakthrough, the harvested sea rice was processed into exquisite desert sea rice souvenirs, and he personally named it "AL MARMOOM" brand, as a future "national gift" to present distinguished guests, and cooperated with the sea rice team "Yuan Mi" brand for joint promotion, this will also become a symbol of fruitful achievements and friendship between China and Arab countries in agricultural science and technology cooperation under the framework of "Belt and Road Initiative.

There are many great challenges in planting rice in desert areas, including extreme temperature difference between day and night, high underground salinity water level, low humidity, lack of fresh water, sandstorms, lack of soil aggregate structure, lack of planting resources and so on. For example, Dubai's surface temperature can reach more than 54 degrees Celsius from June to July, and the maximum temperature difference between day and night can reach more than 30 degrees. 7-8 meters underground in desert is salty water with salinity of 1.6%, the surface of the land is fine sand, and the underground 50-80cm is the weathered rock structure. In order to overcome these difficulties, the project team must adopt a desert saline-alkali land improvement technology called "four-dimensional improvement method" in addition to breeding saline-alkali tolerant rice varieties adapted to the local accumulated temperature zone, and develop a plant protection system different from regular rice cultivation, so as to save fresh water resources, avoid secondary salinization, establish soil aggregate structure and intelligent water and fertilizer circulation, and turn the desert into an artificial oasis. It is reported that the four-dimensional improvement method technology will also apply the Internet of Things, big data, artificial intelligence and cloud platform technology to help the local area establish an advanced intelligent agricultural system through the digital transformation of desert land and contribute to the development of digital agriculture in Dubai.

According to the "Green Dubai" cooperation framework agreement reached by the two parties, the sea rice project team will carry out four phases of experiments and industrialization promotion plans in Dubai. The first stage is variety experiment, through the trial planting of different accumulated temperature zone rice varieties, to explore the appropriate germplasm resources, to master the growth law of rice in the desert extreme environment and the conditions of water and fertilizer application, and to explore the core plant protection measures of rice in each growth period. The productive experiment in the second half of 2018 is the second phase, which is based on the "four-dimensional improvement method" technology to determine the best soil improvement process parameters and water soil fertilizer cycle model to reduce the cost of large-scale promotion of production. The two sides plan to start the third phase-the 100-hectare "sea rice experimental farm" project in 2019. In addition to verifying the large-scale experimental planting technology of sea rice, this phase will explore the use of the scarce resources of the evergreen man-made oasis in desert areas to integrate green ecological real estate formats, introduce commercial investment including China's "the belt and road initiative" industrial funds, and try to realize the commercial operation of the project, after the completion of this phase, it will enter the fourth phase, that is, the comprehensive promotion phase. The vision put forward by His Highness the Chief is to use "sea rice" and the industrial chain system it drives to rapidly expand the planting area of sea rice starting from 2020, to cover more than 10% of Dubai's land area with artificial oasis of sea rice, to create a green Dubai and an ecological Dubai, to achieve coordinated and rapid economic development on the basis of satisfying Dubai's food self-sufficiency, and to create another miracle of Dubai's economic development.

At the same time, His Highness the Chief will cooperate with Qingdao Sea Rice Research and Development Center to establish the "Yuan Longping Middle East and North Africa Sea Hybrid Rice Research and Promotion Center", which will undertake the missions of testing sea rice varieties, optimizing process conditions, technical training and industrialization promotion for the Middle East and North Africa. At the same time, it is committed to bringing sea rice technology to the service of the entire Arab world to solve the problem of hunger caused by poverty and poor natural conditions in the region.

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