On Tuesday, Yuan Longping, a scientist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences who leads the nation's research in hybrid rice, proudly announced a record production of 1,500 kilograms per mu (0.067 hectares).
Eyewitnesses said the 90-year-old scientist was rejoicing like a child while making the announcement at a news conference.
The results are of significance to not only China, but the entire world, as with just 7 percent of the world's arable land, China produces enough grain to support 22 percent of the world's population. In some sense, Yuan's achievement is a major contribution to the global fight against hunger.
For China, more rice production means greater food security. The achievement would not have been possible without Yuan and his team. Since the 1960s, Yuan, then a fresh university graduate, has devoted himself wholly to research on hybrid rice. In these 60 years, he has taught generations of students.
The importance of a good scientist and a good research team to fight the problems we face can never be overestimated. By making contributions at the most basic level, they can help enhance the productivity of the whole sector and achieve miracles. By hybridizing rice varieties, Yuan has helped farmers increase productivity without increasing labor or production costs.
China needs more scientists like Yuan in other sectors, so that those sectors, too, can see faster growth. For such achievements, the State must improve the quality of education and allow each student to fully exercise his or her ingenuity.
Yuan said he still has a clear mind and hopes to work till he turns 100. China can do with more scientists like him for its long-term prosperity.