The new strain has been previously tried and tested, but scientists from the Qingdao Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center reportedly managed to nearly triple yields, to 4.5 metric tons per hectare, making it ready for commercialization.
Saltwater cultivation may boost China’s rice production by nearly 20 percent and will be able to feed more than 200 million people, according to the research leader Yuan Longping, known as China’s ‘father of hybrid rice.’
The new type of hybrid rice has been grown among 200 varieties of rice in Qingdao, a coastal city in eastern China’s Shandong Province. The researchers pumped and diluted seawater from the Yellow Sea, and then channeled it into the rice paddy fields.
Diluted seawater rice has already gone on sale. However, at 50 yuan ($7.50) a kilo the new variety is eight times more expensive than traditional rice.
An online shop selling the rice has been established. Below is the screenshot of the online shop on Taobao.
The platform is selling rice harvested last year with this year’s crop to enter the stores in November.
As see from the Taobao analytics, 5kg rice was sold at ￥268（around $40）. And 345 items had been sold in the past 30 days. Normally, rice are sold at $20 for 5kg. As a result, it is more than half more expensive than other rice in Chinese market.