China boosts wheat production with new high-yielding varieties
December 4, 2007
A research initiative to boost China’s wheat production has yielded new high-quality, high-yielding varieties that have added 2.4 million tons to Chinese harvests and generated an extra US$411 million in farm income over the past four years, reports a new assessment from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). The new varieties also offer natural resistance to a new strain of wheat stem rust now emerging as a threat to global food security, according to the researchers.
“Now that these new wheat varieties have been sown on more than 8 million hectares, we can see how important they are likely to become to China’s wheat production capacity,” said He Zhonghu of CAAS. “They are particularly important in the area of disease resistance. It is not just the farmers who are benefiting. These new varieties are yielding a high-quality grain that food manufacturers say is producing superior wheat noodles and pan bread for Chinese consumers.”
“These new wheat varieties developed by China’s wheat improvement team possess what every crop scientist seeks but only rarely achieves,” said Ren Wang, director of the Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research (CGIAR). “In addition to offering bigger harvests and higher quality wheat, the recent finding that they are endowed with natural resistance to the strain of stem rust we’re seeing spread throughout East Africa is just more evidence of their outstanding quality.”
In recognition of their crop science, the CGIAR announced that its 2007 Regional Award for Outstanding Agricultural Technology in the Asia-Pacific Region will go to the Chinese wheat improvement team.