China Harvests Space rice that returned from space in 2020.

Breaking: China Harvests “Space rice” that returned from space successfully last year
⟶ Cambodian farmers planting rice. 2004. Photo: Brad Collis
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The world is getting innovative with each passing day. Every day, someone starts work on a new idea that has the potential to change the world. Take the recent example. China has done something special. The world’s newspapers are inked with the news that “China Harvests Space rice that returned from a lunar voyage in November last year.” Yes, you read that right. Rice seeds were sent to space. Why Chinese scientists did this and what were their motives? Is China trying to dominate food production in the world as well? Read the article to know!

History of China sending crops in Space:

China has been sending rice and other crops to space since 1987. In addition to rice, more than 200 space-bred plant varieties have been approved for planting. These include cotton, tomato, grains, vegetables, and cash crops. In 2018, the Total plantation area for space crops reached more than 2.4 million hectares, according to State Media.

Scientists are hopeful that seeds returned from the Lunar voyage will help in the production of new plant varieties soon.

The Rice crop was grown from 40 grams of seeds. These seeds traveled with the Chang’e-5 Lunar Probe in November.

Scientists can’t use every harvested seed for future Plantations. Which seed will be used for future plantations is decided through tests. Those performing best in the “Tests” have the potential to change the national production capacity.

China Harvests Space Rice-What is the motive behind this?

China is sending crops like rice to Space because the country is facing a food shortage. The population of China is massive and has a record of being the most populous country in the world at the moment. A total of 1.4 billion people live in this country. Officials were predicting food security issues if drastic measures are not given priority.

Breeding crops that went to space is one of the drastic measures to combat food shortages. China is focusing on food supply and food security in recent years. To achieve this, China is boosting imports of foods and food by-products. In addition to this, the Chinese government is urging greater self-sufficiency when it comes to staple food. With pressure mounting on China regarding Human rights, minority rights, and freedom of speech, China does not want to depend on any other country.

  • Food security is necessary to maintain peace and stability in the country. If there is not enough food, then the prices of food will go up. People will protest on the streets which will impact the economy. Not only this, the crime rate will increase. All of these evils are due to food shortage only.

The staple food is a food you eat every day. In China and Bangladesh, it is rice. In Pakistan, it is “Roti” which is made from wheat.

China does not want to depend on imports or any other country to cover the production of its staple food. Chia desires self-sufficiency in rice production. Now, China harvests Space rice which shows us that China is near to achieve this goal.

How sending crops in space will improve production?

When seeds are exposed to cosmic radiation and Zero gravity in space, they can mutate. Mutation means a change in their genetic structure takes place. These mutated seeds can produce higher yields when planted back on the Earth. So, it is “Genetics” that plays a huge role in the performance of the seeds.

To feed the population of 1.4 Billion people, Chinese scientists are coming up with innovative ideas.
The seed sector is the pillar of Food security. Without reforms in the seed sector, No one can achieve food security. Keeping that in mind, the Chinese government approved a plan last week to make seed sourcing a matter of strategic security. Furthermore, the Chinese government vowed to support more and more research and Agriculture projects. All of this shows that China is aiming to dominate the food sector in the coming years.

Rice fields grown by sowing conventional and space-bred seeds in China. China has harvested space rice seeds to tackle food shortage.
Rice fields grown by sowing conventional and space-bred seeds in China.

Details about Space Rice Trails and relation with China’s Space Rice harvest:

The seeds are harvested at the Space Breeding research Centre of South China Agricultural University in Guangdong Province. The seed harvested is 1 cm long and is collected in Three large parcels.

Chinese cannot eat this harvested rice right now. Dr. Wang said that it may still take three to four years before rice enters the Market. So, China harvests Space rice that will not benefit the Chinese immediately. According to Space Breeding Research Centre, more tests are needed before people can consume them.

During the tests, the best seeds will be selected. But what are the criteria to determine which seed is good and which is not?

Seeds are sown and trials are conducted. Those space-bred plants which have high resistance against diseases, insect pests, and heat are plants with good seeds. Not only that, but they must also be stable, mature early, and most importantly give higher yield. Scientists conduct such tests in either lab or the field.

Dr. Wang said Technology will not be limited to sending seeds into space. It could also lead to a plantation in space for longer terms when China space station starts to operate.


China has been setting precedent in space breeding. China Harvests “Space rice” to tackle food security. This will surely set the pace for future programs. Seeds in space can mutate leading to a better variety with better traits. If done successfully, China can become self-sufficient and will not rely on any other country to cover up the staple food shortage. How much progress can China make in this technology? We will have to wait and see. But one thing is sure, there is no one Stopping China!

  • Do comment your opinion on China sending crops in space and then planting on the Earth!

Also, If you want to know How Relations between Two USA Rivals China and Iran can change the world, Then, check out the article by clicking Here.

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Syed Muneeb Haider

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