Piqued, Chinese scientist trashes Indian’s record rice harvest claim

Feb 22 2013, 04:23 IST
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SummaryBitter after losing to an Indian farmer who beat his world record by harvesting 22.4 tonne of rice per hectare, a top Chinese scientist known as the “father of hybrid rice” has questioned the feat, terming it as “fake”.

Bitter after losing to an Indian farmer who beat his world record by harvesting 22.4 tonne of rice per hectare, a top Chinese scientist known as the “father of hybrid rice” has questioned the feat, terming it as “fake”.

It is “120% fake”, Yuan Longping, who held the record earlier by growing 19.4 tonne of rice in 2011, was quoted as saying by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

“I introduced the intensification method to China myself. It could increase yields by 10-15% in low-yield fields, but it's not possible for fields that are already producing relatively high yields,” Yuan said.

“He (Indian farmer) said they had lots of rain and little sunshine last year, but high yields would be impossible without adequate sunshine,” Yuan said.

Yuan was reacting to Sumant Kumar's success story published by the British newspaper Guardian, which carried a feature on the achievement of the young farmer from the Nalanda district of Bihar last year. Kumar used a method called System of Rice Intensification (SRI).

Yuan said judging by photos, the harvested plants appeared short and couldn’t possibly produce high yields.

“Good soil is the basis of high-yield rice,” Yuan said, adding that the soil where Kumar farmed was apparently inferior in quality.

Yuan also questioned the way India verified Kumar's claim. “How could the India n government have confirmed the number after the harvesting was already done?” he asked.

“If Kumar is able to repeat his success next year, I will be glad to examine the results in the field personally,” Yuan said.

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