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Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 00:13

‘Father of hybrid rice’ among winners of Lui Che Woo Prize

By Willa Wu
‘Father of hybrid rice’ among winners of Lui Che Woo Prize

Lui Che-woo, chairman of K. Wah Group, presents the Positive Energy Prize to Chip Carter, on behalf of his father former US president Jimmy Carter, during the Lui Che Woo Prize's award ceremony at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday. (Parker Zheng/China Daily)

HONG KONG - Agricultural scientist Yuan Longping said on Monday he will use the HK$20 million cash award given by the Lui Che Woo Prize to further advance his work on higher-yielding hybrid rice.

Yuan, the “father of hybrid rice”, received the award on Monday evening for bringing about sustainable and stable food supply to China and other countries.

Speaking to reporters in Hong Kong ahead of the award presentation ceremony, Yuan said he will make full use of the award to take his research to another level.

Yuen said the current hybrid rice being bred had a 20 percent higher yield than traditional rice, and extra output can feed another 70 million people.

Lui Che Woo Prize, a prize aiming to reward those who help humanity, was created by local tycoon and philanthropist Lui Che-woo. It held its first annual award presentation on Monday.

The prize rewards individuals or organizations all over the world with a cash award of HK$20 million for outstanding achievements and contributions to sustainable development, improving the welfare of mankind and the promotion of a positive attitude to life.

In addition to Yuan, the other two laureates are former US president Jimmy Carter who has actively engaged in promoting human rights and a positive attitude, and the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), a worldwide medical organization. It has fought against the cholera outbreak in Haiti in 2010 and Ebola in West Africa in 2014.

Speaking on the same occasion as Yuan, Remi Carrier, MSF’s executive director, said his organization will allocate the cash award to set up a biology bank where disease specimens can be collected and stored for study. It aims to establish a platform where researchers can share information and develop diversified medical tools to detect unknown diseases.

The laureates will give public lectures later this week in Hong Kong.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who officiated at the ceremony, praised the three laureates for their great contributions. He thanked Lui for his generosity in supporting charitable causes in Hong Kong and overseas.

“I share the vision of Lui, that is wherever and whenever we join hands and hug, we can build a healthy, loving and harmonious world,” Leung said.

Lui noted that the prize is an international, cross-sector and innovative prize. It aims to unify and encourage people from different races and faiths to build a peaceful world together. He said the council organizing the prize had sent out invitations to more than 1,000 selected nominators, asking for their nominations for next year.

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