On 22 May, the renowned Chinese agronomist, Yuan Longping, died at the age of 91 in Changsha. Since the 1980s, Yuan developed hybrid rice strains with a 20 % higher yield than existing strains. His contribution to feeding the Chinese population has been honoured by more than 100 000 people who queued to offer their condolence.
Yuan’s breakthrough discoveries led to China’s leading position in hybrid rice breeding. In 2004, he won the World Food Prize to honour his contribution to improve food quality and availability. Based on Yuan’s research, the Ministry of Agriculture started a super rice breeding program which helped to increase harvest records from 8.250 tons per hectare in 1995 to 15 tons per hectare in 2014.