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The scientists in China have developed several types of rice that can grow in salty waters and has the potential to feed 200 million people. 

At the Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center in Qingdao, eastern China, researchers planted over 200 types of rice to observe which one would be growing the best in the salty conditions.

The research led by scientist Yuan Longping found four different types yielded up to 9.3 tons per hectare much more than the expected 4.5 tons.

"The test results greatly exceeded our expectations," Liu Shiping, a professor of agriculture at Yangzhou University who is involved in the project, told Xinhua.

Researchers have been trying to find a way to grow grains in salty water for almost decades but only now it could be sold commercially.

The current price of the new rice is 50 yuan (£5.75) per kilogram, which is eight times more than the cost of normal rice in the country.

However, as the production starts to increase, the prices will fall and the makers are hoping that the health benefits of the saline-alkali tolerant rice will also attract buyers.

As the rice is also thought to have several health benefits, including being high in calcium and other nutrients.

 Yuan said: "If a farmer tries to grow some types of saline-tolerant rice now, they most likely will get 1,500 kilograms per hectare. That is just not profitable and not even worth the effort."

He added: "Farmers will have an incentive to grow the rice if we can double the yield."

The Yuan Ce Biological Technology firm partnered with Yuan in order to produce the new product and named the new rice 'Yuan Mi' after him.