The prominent Chinese scientist Yuan Longping, known for having developed the first varieties of hybrid rice, died today at the age of 91, reports the official press.

The agronomist was considered a hero in the Asian country because his first hybrid rice crops – obtained by crossing three different lines – increased production throughout the seventies by 20%, which meant achieving the capacity to feed an additional 70 million people.

Later, he developed other, even more productive varieties, to the point of breaking his own records, going from about 10 tons per hectare in 2000 to over 15 in 2014.

In 2019, Yuan was nominated for the Republic Medal, China’s highest honor, for his contribution to China’s food security, scientific development of agriculture, and increased global food production.

When he turned 90 years old in September of that year, the state agency Xinhua dedicated an article to him in which it celebrates the “feat” of being able to “feed almost a fifth of the world’s population” in a country in which the Arable land has not exceeded 13.5% of its local area in recent decades.

His recognition in the country gave him the honor of being chosen among the bearers of the Olympic torch of the JJ. OO. Beijing 2008.

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