Staff Reporter, Agriculture Minister Dr Md Abdur Razzaque has promised to increase subsidy for the agriculture sector by reiterating his call to meet up the challenge of increasing safe food production by taking the newly developed rice varieties and associated technologies to the farmers’ doorstep.

At the same time he asked the BRRI scientists to develop more rice varieties and appropriate technologies that can withstand adverse environmental effects such as salinity, drought, cold, flood and water resurge etc.

He made this clarion call on Saturday (2 February 2019) when he was inaugurating the Annual Research Review Workshop 2017-18 of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute in Gazipur.

Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Md Nasiruzzaman presided over the inaugural session while Chairman of the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation Md Fazle Wahed Kondker, Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council Dr Md Kabir Ikramul Haque and Director General of the Department of Agricultural Extension Mir Nurul Alam joined the programme as the discussants.

BRRI Director General Dr Md Shahjahan Kabir delivered the welcome address while BRRI Director (Administration and Common Service) Dr Md Ansar Ali delivered a speech thanking the audience. BRRI Director (Research) Dr Tamal Lata Aditya presented the key-note paper of the workshop.

Experts and officials from different government and non-government organizations including BRRI, BARI, BARC, DAE and IRRI along with universities as well as farmers’ representatives attended the workshop.

The technical sessions of the workshop would continue for the next five days. The contents of the workshop would include the details of the achievements and advances in rice research and extension programmes completed over the last year.

The workshop would also include research results of the 19 research divisions and nine regional stations of the  institute carried out in 2017-18.

BRRI has developed 12 high yielding rice varieties in the last two years including BRRI dhan84, BRRI dhan85, BRRI dhan86, BRRI dhan87, BRRI dhan88, BRRI dhan89 and BRRI hybrid dhan6. Among the latest developed 12 BRRI varieties four are suitable for cultivation in transplant Aman, three for transplant Aus and the rest five for the Boro season. Some of these varieties can produce 7-8 ton yield per hectare.

In addition, recent innovation of the institute also includes BRRI dhan75 and BRRI dhan80 those have slender grain with aroma while BRRI dhan76 and BRRI dhan77 are suitable for non-saline tidal areas. On the other hand BRRI dhan78 is suitable to cultivate in saline prone tidal areas.

More than a hundred BRRI developed technologies including insect-pest management techniques of rice crop, location specific cropping pattern, agronomic practices and machinery are being used at farmers’ level throughout the country. Recently BRRI developed prilled urea applicator machine has earned a patent for the institute.

Over the last eight years, BRRI has developed 38 high yielding rice varieties along with some associated technologies. Among them, saline tolerant BRRI dhan61 and BRRI dhan67, zinc enriched BRRI dhan62, BRRI dhan64, BRRI dhan72 and BRRI dhan74, another variety BRRI dhan63 having slender grain is similar to traditionally popular Soru Balam, early Aus variety BRRI dhan65 is suitable for direct seeding, drought tolerant and highly protein enriched Aman variety BRRI dhan66, ideal high yielding Boro rice BRRI dhan68 and cost saving HYV BRRI dhan69.

In recent times it has also developed BRRI dhan58 having similar qualities of BRRI dhan29 that is widely popular Boro variety among the farmers’ level. Similarly it has developed BRRI dhan49 having similar qualities to popular Aman variety BR11. However the newly developed varieties BRRI dhan58 and BRRI dhan49 get maturity about seven days earlier than the BRRI dhan29 and BR11 respectively.

BRRI has so far developed some climate smart varieties including eight saline tolerant, two submergence tolerant and three draught tolerant, one drought escaping, four zinc enriched and two cold tolerant ones.

Research thrust has been given to develop such types of varieties mainly to cope with the difficulties of global warming. Work is in progress to develop vitamin and iron fortified rice varieties to meet the nutrition demand of the people. BRRI’s recent innovation also includes a variety with long and slender grain and aromatic in nature called BRRI dhan50 or Banglamoti. This variety has the export potential.

In total, BRRI has so far developed  94 high yielding rice varieties including six  hybrid ones, and some of them are stress tolerant and highly nutrition enriched having three times higher yield potential than the traditional rice.

At present BRRI varieties cover 80 percent of the total rice area that account for 91 percent of the total rice production of the country. BRRI varieties have played a vital role in making Bangladesh a self-reliant country in rice production.