EYEAFRICA TV: Changsha City, China: China’s hybrid rice is flourishing in the African island nation of Madagascar, where the harvest of rice exceeded 10 tons per hectare this year, far outperforming the yield of local rice.
Due to lack of financial support and agricultural infrastructure, the low yield of local rice in Madagascar posed a threat of hunger to local people regardless of the good climate conditions.
Over a decade ago, a team of Chinese agricultural experts went to Madagascar, with the simple goal of helping local farmers planting productive hybrid rice. But this idea was not very well received at first.
“In the beginning, local farmers didn’t believe us, didn’t understand us, and didn’t know about our rice. They called our hybrid rice monster rice, as the yield was beyond their imagination,” said Zhang Lijun, leader of the Chinese experts.
Tough as it was, Zhang and his team members visited nearly all the rice paddies nationwide to cultivate high-yield seeds.
And in the following years, the stable and high production of hybrid rice proved to be the best testament. This progress could not have been made without the efforts of the Chinese experts, and the guidance of China’s “Father of Hybrid Rice”, Yuan Longping.
“The production of local rice [in Madagascar] is about 2.5 tons per hectare, and the average production of our 20,000 hectares of rice that we planted is seven tons per hectare. So the production has not only doubled, but nearly tripled,” said Yuan.
The highest harvest of rice reached 10.8 tons per hectare earlier this year. Zhang, who has now returned to China, said that some local farmers who planted hybrid rice not only had enough to eat, but more to improve their livelihood.
“One of the farmers gained great benefits. He bought an agricultural machine, moved into a new house, and bought electric appliances, all thanks to the hybrid rice. He used to plant hybrid rice on one hectare of his field, yet now he plants it on over a dozen hectares,” said Zhang.
Hybrid rice is not only helping people in Madagascar, but now flourishing in nearly 20 countries across Africa.