Notes on the Geography of China: Red Basin Village: Shu-Guang: Photo 15
The same paddy, stretching to lower terraces. Sichuan was historically China's biggest rice producer. It no longer has that ranking, not since it slipped behind Hunan in 1970 and Jiangsu in the late 1990s. Still, this may not be bad news: rice production in Sichuan fell from a 1990 peak of 21 million tons of rough rice to about 16 million tons a decade later because farmers found that other crops were more profitable. The land planted to rice has declined much more dramatically, from 3.1 million hectares in 1990 to 2.1 million in 2000. Necessarily, rice yields have risen, from 4.5 tons per hectare in 1970 to 7.7 tons per hectare in 2000. (This change is about the same for China as a whole, although yields in Sichuan have consistently been slightly higher than the national average.) Much of the change can be explained by the adoption of hybrid varieties, which were introduced in the 1970s and now account for 90% of Sichuan's crop.
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