April 12, 2015 / 5:57 AM / 5 years ago

China super-rice grower blames weather, fungus for harvest failure

BEIJING, April 12 (Reuters) - China’s super-rice grower, Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture Co Ltd, blamed abnormal weather and disease for large crop failures in the rice growing province of Anhui last year.

Rice blast fungus caused a reduction in yields or no harvests in many areas in the province, said an executive with the company founded by Yuan Longping, an agricultural scientist who is sometimes referred to by Chinese media as “the father of hybrid rice”.

“Last year, because of the abnormal weather, the areas which normally have a low outbreak of rice blast were unexpectedly hit with frequent outbreaks, causing big losses for farmers,” said Peng Guangjian, the company’s president.

Chinese media recently reported that the super-rice strain, “Liangyou 0293”, produced by the company, caused widespread crop failure in six areas in Anhui province last year.

“The disadvantage of the strain is that it is not resistant to rice blast, although it has many advantages, including high yield...”, Peng told a local television station in a report posted on Saturday to the company’s web site (www.lpht.com.cn).

Super hybrid rice accounts for about 30 percent of the country’s total rice area and average yield was 590.8 kg per mu (0.07 hectare), the official People’s Daily reported on Sunday, citing an agriculture ministry official.

China, the world’s top rice grower and consumer, harvested 206.43 million tonnes of rice in 2014, 1.4 percent more than in the previous year. (Reporting by Niu Shuping and Michael Martina; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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