A Palestinian agricultural researcher has succeeded in producing 7 to 12 ears of wheat from a single seed each containing exactly 100 seeds.
This is one of four other successful experiments carried out by the agricultural engineer, Ali Odwan, the head of Beit-Hanoun Agricultural School.
Odwan expected that the result of his new successful experiment would increase wheat yields in the Gaza Strip because it doubles the wheat produced. "About 24 per cent of Gaza's land is, which is mainly deserted agricultural spaces near the Gaza borders, will be developed," he said.
According to the engineer, who affirmed that his is a unique result in the whole Arab world, the new modified seeds could withstand drought and shortages of rainfall.
He said that his experiments are in line with the meaning of the Quranic verse: "The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing," Al-Baqarah: 261.
The researcher said that 1.5 dunams produces one ton of clean wheat. "This is two times the normal amount," he said. The new modified wheat depends mainly and only on rainwater and it is resistant to extreme and dry weather.
"The rainwater stopped in February this year, but the crop of the modified grains remained green even the thin ends of the spikes," the engineer said.
The engineer said that normal wheat takes 15 days to first appear out of the soil, but the modified seed takes only six days. The stalks of the new wheat plants are short (60cm) and produce a lot of straw which is used as fodder for animals.
The head of the sole agricultural school in Gaza has called for the ministry of agriculture to allocate 60 dunams of land to be planted the same way next year in order to produce amounts of grains enough for all Gaza farmers in the borderline areas.