The Rice Industry Loses a Historical Icon

May 27, 2021

The global rice industry has lost a dear friend, Yuanlong Ping, a Chinese scientist who developed higher-yield rice varieties that helped feed people around the world passed away at the age of 90 in China on May 22, 2021.

In honor of his great achievements and dedication to feeding communities suffering malnutrition and starvation worldwide, Dwight Roberts recalled at a meeting with him when he was visiting the U.S. rice states in early years, “Yuan Longping was a real rock star. Known as the Father of Hybrid Rice, he developed rice varieties that helped feed the world. When I met him 20 years ago I realized he was the 'Babe Ruth' of world food production, a real celebrity.”

Yuan spent his life researching rice and was a household name in China. Worldwide, a fifth of all rice now comes from the species created following Yuan’s breakthrough discoveries, according to the website of the World Food Prize, which he won in 2004. 

On Saturday afternoon, large crowds honored the scientist by marching past the hospital in Hunan province where he died, local media reported, calling out phrases such as: “Grandpa Yuan, have a good journey!” USRPA offers the deepest condolence to him and his family. May he rest in peace and joy and generations of rice folks will follow his generous heritage and footsteps, his lifelong endeavor to benefit the welfare of the world.

Pictured (left) Dwight Roberts with Yuanlong Ping (right).
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