Development of WDR for Rice “Blue Revolution” with Carbon Neutrality in China

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The increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in Earth’s atmospheric leads to global warming, which draw global attentions. CH4 emissions from rice paddies, is one major source of agricultural GHGs, which contributes ~2.40% to the enhanced global warming effect. It is necessary to free rice cultivation from logged water to reduce the CH4 emissions for the carbon neutrality, which was named rice “blue revolution”.

Recently, scientists from Shanghai Agrobiological Gene Center have published an Opinion in Molecular Plant (IF: 21.949) to introduce their efforts in rice “blue revolution” by developing water-saving and drought-resistance rice (WDR). WDR possesses the high WUE and good drought resistance from upland rice, which makes it suitable for aerobic cultivation with less water and fertilizer. It also possesses the good quality and high yield which are equivalent to the elite paddy rice.

In the last two decades, 22 WDR varieties have been developed and granted national and/or local certifications after rigorous field tests, which covers more than two-thirds of the provinces in China. WDR can be directly seeded and planted like wheat. Farmers can obtain a satisfactory yield (~9.0 tons per hectare) from WDR under diverse water-saving cultivation modes and experience extra benefits from the saved resources and labors. The annual planting area of WDR has been expanded to ~200,000 hectares in China. WDR also has been tested in >20 African and Asian developing countries and earned an excellent worldwide reputation.