Yuan Longping, a Chinese agricultural scientist whose breakthroughs in hybrid rice brought food security to China and transformed agriculture worldwide, died aged 91.
Yuan is celebrated in China as the “father of hybrid rice” for his contributions to agriculture.
In 1970s, he developed “the first hybrid rice combination called Nan-you No. 2 which, due to heterosis — a phenomenon in which the progeny of two distinctly different parents grow faster, yield more, and resist stress better than either parent.
Farmers around the world have benefitted from his techniques as hybrid rice spread throughout Asia, Africa and the Americas.
In 2004, he was honoured with the World Food Prize “for his breakthrough achievement in developing the genetic materials and technologies essential for breeding high-yielding hybrid rice varieties”.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation honoured him with a prize in 2001.