Rice that grows for years once planted has been developed in China! 'Like planting a mango and eating the fruit in the 10th year'

Rice that grows for years once planted has been developed in China! 'Like planting a mango and eating the fruit in the 10th year'

Thousands of farmers in China have started growing new types of rice. It has made the dreams of old scientists come true. It is an evergreen type of rice. You don't have to wear it every season. Rice grows year after year from the old roots in the soil.

Researchers from Yunnan University in Kunming, China worked for more than two decades to grow this rice. This success story has been published in Nature Sustainability Journal.

This evergreen rice does not require much effort. It also dramatically reduces the effort required by farmers to produce the same amount of rice. The age-old roots of rice also have environmental benefits. But scientists need more data to confirm this benefit.

This is a really big deal, says University of Illinois plant geneticist Eric Sacks. He said that this will change the way we think about agriculture. Sachs collaborated with Chinese scientists in the new study. Some scientists, including Sacks, are hoping that this will change the future landscape of the agricultural sector and realize the idea of an evergreen rice crop.

It will preserve the weak soil and enrich the natural environment. But some other scientists have doubted whether this success can be repeated in other major grain crops like wheat and corn.

Chinese scientists tried to develop an evergreen rice crop in the 1970s. But they failed. They achieved a significant breakthrough in 1996 by cross-pollinating. But the rice seeds were not saved. Scientists used a laboratory method called tissue culture to grow new, hybrid rice plants from it. It was a permanent root in the rice plant and lived for a long time. But it could also be crossbred with other rice plants.

Yunnan University's research group leader Shilai Chang and his colleagues obtained thousands of rice seeds from hybridization. Tried to get the seeds of evergreen rice that can grow enough rice of high quality. In this process, they failed time and again. The local farmers had even started thinking that the scientists were not planting rice but only weeds.

But in 2018, the evergreen rice variety was finally available. It was distributed among the farmers of China. Other varieties of rice went to the market after 2 years. According to the researchers, since 2020, nearly 11,000 small farmers have planted permanent paddy in an area of 9,000 acres. After one year, the number of farmers planting new varieties of rice quadrupled and the area under rice cultivation reached 38,000 acres.

According to Chang, many farmers are attracted to evergreen rice cultivation because it requires less effort. In some rice producing areas of China, young people are turning away from rice farming. All the rest of the farmers are old. Evergreen rice cultivation has allowed them to reduce the labor required for rice cultivation.

Every year, the hassle of keeping rice seeds, planting the seeds in the field and the expenses for it have decreased. Yunnan University researchers say that this will reduce the cost of rice cultivation by half.

But it has been seen that the new rice does not always produce enough. In field tests, it has been found that the yield starts to decrease after four years of paddy production. This is eight seasons of paddy cultivation. In other words, every 4/4 years, farmers have to plant rice seeds again.

The share of evergreen rice cultivation in China's total rice cultivation is negligible. Chang says that it is too early to estimate how widespread its cultivation will be. It grows easily in places where water is scarce. It survives even in places with little water. But these rice plants do not survive in the freezing cold. This can be the biggest environmental boon for the hilly areas where irrigation is less.

In the 1990s, the Philippines tried to develop evergreen rice crops in hilly, dry areas. But the program was canceled due to slow progress and lack of funds.

For some researchers, including Sacks, evergreen rice varieties have shown hope that an evergreen alternative to current staple crops can be created. Wheat, rice and corn should be planted annually. This crop has been saving humans for centuries. But during its construction, the environment has been heavily damaged. Evergreen rice crop will reduce this problem?