Islamabad: Pakistani and Chinese scientists are jointly making huge progress in cultivating Honglian type hybrid rice in high-temperature conditions.
Since the initiation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, China has shared over 1,500 agricultural technologies, including insights into hybrid rice, with numerous countries worldwide.
For the past five years, the University of the Punjab in Pakistan and Wuhan University in China have collaboratively conducted research on cultivating Honglian type hybrid rice in high-temperature conditions. Their joint efforts extend to upgrading rice varieties in both countries.
Wuhan University supplied seeds of three new varieties, currently undergoing testing in a field at the Pakistani university, the Punjab University said in a statement.
Honglian type hybrid rice, a significant scientific achievement from Wuhan University, holds a crucial position in the global hybrid rice sector due to its high yield, quality, adaptability, nitrogen use efficiency, and tolerance to high temperatures.
Muhammad Ashfaq, an associate professor at the University of the Punjab and leader of the research project, visited Wuhan with over 2,000 fresh rice leaves, potentially holding key information on the heat tolerance genes of Honglian type hybrid rice. Wu Xianting, a project leader from Wuhan University, emphasized the significance of this information for future global food production and climate adaptation.
During his visit, Ashfaq explored a Honglian type hybrid rice seed production field in Luotian county, established jointly by the two universities in 2021. This 0.8-hectare field aims to promote the trial planting of new-generation hybrid rice in Pakistan, showcasing the collaborative efforts toward stabilizing global food supply and pursuing sustainable development.
Excited about the success of the Luotian field, which yielded 4.68 metric tons per hectare this year, Ashfaq expressed his eagerness to introduce these rice varieties to Pakistan for both trial planting and large-scale cultivation.