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The Boy Who Would Feed the World

P98.00

Written by Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz

Illustrated by Juanito "Quix" P. Maiquez

Rice is Asia's staple food, the delicious grain upon which its civilizations have grown and flourished since earliest times. Over centuries, Asia's farmers toiled to render forests into rice fields and tinkered endlessly to garner from each paddy and stalk just a little more rice. Rising populations in modern times have meant that more rice must be grown on less land, especially in China where people now number over a billion. Yuan Longping, director general of the China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Center, has confronted this urgent need. His brilliant innovations in hybridization offer hope that, in the years to come, there will always be enough rice.

As a boy during the Japanese War, Yuan followed his father across China to Chongqing, attending one school after another. An eager learner, he earned the nickname "Questioning student." A visit to a horticultural garden awakened in him a love for plants. He studied agriculture in college and, as a young teacher at Anjiang School of Agriculture in Hunan, began his own experiments in crop breeding. Shocked by China's great famine of 1958-1961 and by the impoverished life of rural villagers, Yuan devoted himself to developing higher-yielding rice plants. Thwarted by flawed Soviet theories and by the Cultural Revolution, he persisted despite disappointments and risks. Quietly shifting to sounder genetic models, he began to succeed.

Yuan's research center has already trained 350 scientists from twenty-five countries. His hybrid rice technology is raising hopes for food self-sufficiency in Vietnam, India, the Philippines, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and other Asian countries. All of this delights Yuan, who says, "One of my dreams is to make hybrid rice help more people in the world."

In electing Yuan Longping to receive the 2001 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the board of trustees recognizes the unique contribution of his research in rice hybridization to food security in Asia.

Yuan Longping ( Chinese )

Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service, 2001

Copyright © 2007

Size: 8" x10", full color, 16 pages

ISBN: 978-971-569-589-3

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