That hasn’t just fed a large and growing population. It has led to better nutrition and health, higher rural incomes, falling poverty rates, and more labor available to other sectors to drive China’s economic development.
There are many factors that accounted for China’s recent green revolution. One of the most significant is its commitment to agricultural innovation and the work of people like Professor Yuan Longping. A crop scientist at Hunan Agricultural University, Professor Yuan developed hybrid rice varieties that increased crop yields by 20 percent.
China’s continuing advances in rice could be of enormous benefit to millions of smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, many of whom today are barely growing enough to feed their families and who will face more difficult weather conditions in the decades ahead.
Since 2008, we have been supporting work by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and others to develop new varieties of rice that—when crossed with domestic varieties in countries like Senegal, Tanzania, and Rwanda—will result in high-yielding, stress-tolerant crops that will boost farmer yields and income. But to feed a growing planet, we need to do more.
One of the most exciting efforts is research by Chinese scientists to supercharge the process of photosynthesis in grains. This would significantly increase crop yields while reducing the demand for irrigation and fertilizer.
We also are supporting research by Chinese scientists to improve the health of livestock, which plays a vital role in food security and the rural economy of developing countries. And we are working with the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the Ministry of Agriculture to promote sustainable agricultural development throughout Africa.