Yuan Longping, One Of China's Greatest Heroes, Is Dead At 90. Here's How He Saved Millions Of People During The Country's Deadly Famine Crisis In The 1960s.

Yuan Longping, One Of China's Greatest Heroes, Is Dead At 90. Here's How He Saved Millions Of People During The Country's Deadly Famine Crisis In The 1960s.

Yuan's achievements elevated him to the status of national hero in China. He traveled the world, introducing his rice hybrids to farmers in low-income countries.

Andrew H. Sweet
Andrew H. Sweet
  • In 1973, Longping developed the world's first high-yield hybrid rice strain, which produced 20% more rice per acre than non-hybrid varieties. That means his innovations helped feed an extra 70 million people per year.
  • The backstory: China suffered a disastrous famine in the early 1960s as a result of Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward plan to collectivize agriculture.
  • Yuan said his experiences of seeing people starving to death led him to research rice, which serves as the primary grain for half the world's population.
  • Yuan's breakthroughs turned him into a national hero in China. He crisscrossed the globe introducing his rice hybrids to farmers in lower-income nations.

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