Unexpected Travels

Day 43

Sunday July 31, 2011

As most Sundays are for resting, relaxing, and reading, I was napping during the afternoon and the phone suddenly rang. I picked it up drowsily, and to my surprise it was Lìjié who said, “Come to the office. We will go to Yongan Agrotechnical Station right now.” I was a little confused and disoriented as I got up, but I headed to the office. Lìjié later explained that her husband, who works at Yongan Agrotechnical Station, was free today and she wanted to show me his research work.

The amount of research on hybrid rice is overwhelming. As I listening to Lìjié’s husband explain his research, I was amazed by all the different variables there are to test. He was testing four different factors that affect hybrid rice – different types of fertilizer, temperature threshold, spacing between plants, and transplanting methods. I never realized how many different aspects about hybrid rice that researchers can improve in order to improve food security.

Since, we were in a farming community I decided to conduct some of my surveys there. I am conducting my independent research in two different farming communities, Yongan and Chun Hua.As I walked through the rice fields, I noticed that most of them were not in organized rows, which is necessary for transplanting in order to have a higher yield. This is one of the major problems that farmers in China  face today – lack of resources in order to increase yield of crops. Lìjié explained that most farmers do not have the infrastructure or labor to transplant rice, so transplanting is not an option for them.

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