Tag Archives: rice

First blast resistant, biofortified wheat variety released in Bangladesh-A great breakthrough of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute

First blast resistant, biofortified wheat variety released in Bangladesh

by Hans Braun, Pawan Singh, Ravi Singh, Shahidul Haque Khan, Velu Govindan / October 18, 2017

Members of National Technical Committee of NSB evaluating BAW 1260 in the field. Photo: CIMMYT
Members of National Technical Committee of NSB evaluating BAW 1260, the breeding line used to develop BARI Gom 33. Photo: CIMMYT

DHAKA, Bangladesh (CIMMYT) — As wheat farmers in Bangladesh struggle to recover from a 2016 outbreak of a mysterious disease called “wheat blast,” the country’s National Seed Board (NSB) released a new, high-yielding, blast-resistant wheat variety, according to a communication from the Wheat Research Centre (WRC) in Bangladesh.

Called “BARI Gom 33,” the variety was developed by WRC using a breeding line from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), a Mexico-based organization that has collaborated with Bangladeshi research organizations for decades, according to Naresh C. Deb Barma, Director of WRC, who said the variety had passed extensive field and laboratory testing. “Gom” means “wheat grain” in Bangla, the Bengali language used in Bangladesh.

“This represents an incredibly rapid response to blast, which struck in a surprise outbreak on 15,000 hectares of wheat in southwestern Bangladesh just last year, devastating the crop and greatly affecting farmers’ food security and livelihoods, not to mention their confidence in sowing wheat,” Barma said.

Caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae pathotype triticum, wheat blast was first identified in Brazil in 1985 and has constrained wheat farming in South America for decades. Little is known about the genetics or interactions of the fungus with wheat or other hosts. Few resistant varieties have been released in Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, the countries most affected by wheat blast.

The Bangladesh outbreak was its first appearance in South Asia, a region where rice-wheat cropping rotations cover 13 million hectares and over a billion inhabitants eat wheat as main staple.

Many blast fungal strains are impervious to fungicides, according to Pawan Singh, a CIMMYT wheat pathologist. “The Bangladesh variant is still sensitive to fungicides, but this may not last forever, so we’re rushing to develop and spread new, blast-resistant wheat varieties for South Asia,” Singh explained.

The urgent global response to blast received a big boost in June from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), which funded an initial four-year research project to breed blast resistant wheat varieties and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), which also provided grant to kick-start the work in South Asia. Led by CIMMYT, the initiative involves researchers from nearly a dozen institutions worldwide.

Chemical controls are costly and potentially harmful to human and environmental health, so protecting crops like wheat with inherent resistance is the smart alternative, but resistance must be genetically complex, combining several genes, to withstand new mutations of the pathogen over time.

Key partners in the new project are the agricultural research organizations of Bangladesh, including the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), and the Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agropecuaria y Forestal in Bolivia, which will assist with large-scale field experiments to select wheat lines under artificial and natural infections of wheat blast.

Other partners include national and provincial research organizations in India, Nepal and Pakistan, as well as Kansas State University (KSU) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS). The U.S. Agency for International Agricultural Development (USAID) has also supported efforts to kick-start blast control measures, partnerships and upscaling the breeding, testing and seed multiplication of new, high-yielding, disease resistant varieties through its Feed the Future project.

BARI Gom 33 was tested for resistance to wheat blast in field trials in Bolivia and Bangladesh and in greenhouse tests by the USDA-ARS laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland. International partnerships are critical for a fast response to wheat blast, according to Hans-Joachim Braun, director of CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program.

“Worldwide, we’re in the middle of efforts that include blast surveillance and forecasting, studies on the pathogen’s genetics and biology, integrated disease management and seed systems, as well as raising awareness about the disease and training for researchers, extension workers, and farmers,” said Braun.

With over 160 million people, Bangladesh is among the world’s most densely populated countries. Wheat is Bangladesh’s second most important staple food, after rice. The country grows more than 1.3 million tons each year but consumes 4.5 million tons, meaning that imports whose costs exceed $0.7 billion each year comprise more than two-thirds of domestic wheat grain use.

WRC will produce tons of breeder’s seed of BARI Gom 33 each year. This will be used by the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) and diverse non-governmental organizations and private companies to produce certified seed for farmers.

“This year WRC will provide seed to BADC for multiplication and the Department of Agricultural Extension will establish on-farm demonstrations of the new variety in blast prone districts during 2017-18,” said Barma.

As an added benefit for the nutrition of wheat consuming households, BARI Gom 33 grain features 30 percent higher levels of zinc than conventional wheat. Zinc is a critical micronutrient missing in the diets of many of the poor throughout South Asia and whose lack particularly harms the health of pregnant women and children under 5 years old.

With funding from HarvestPlus and the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition, CIMMYT is leading global efforts to breed biofortified wheat with better agronomic and nutritional quality traits. The wheat line used in BARI Gom 33 was developed at CIMMYT, Mexico, through traditional cross-breeding and shared with Bangladesh and other cooperators in South Asia through the Center’s International Wheat Improvement Network, which celebrates 50 years in 2018.

Stable window 1 and 2 (W1W2) funding from CGIAR enabled CIMMYT and partners to react quickly and screen breeding lines in Bolivia, as well as working with KSU to identify sources of wheat blast resistance. The following W1 funders have made wheat blast resistance breeding possible: Australia, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, France, India, Japan, Korea, New Zeland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the World Bank. The following funders also contributed vital W2 funding: Australia, China, the United Kingdom (DFID) and USAID.

(This report has been taken from the website of CIMMYT,http://www.cimmyt.org for greater dissemination to inform and inspire all concerned.I specially congratulate the team of scientists for this great breakthrough.I also thank the funding agencies for their great contributions towards food and nutrition security.I heartily acknowledge the authors of the article,”First blast resistant, biofortified wheat variety released in Bangladesh” who depicted the details of the breakthrough and published at http://www.cimmyt.org/first-blast-resistant-biofortified-wheat-variety-released-in-bangladesh)

Congee: A Poem by Dr.Syed Md. Zainul Abedin

Congee

Traditional therapeutic

Soup like food

Cooked rice with water

Porridge

The beneficial effects of climate change on rice in Madagascar(Taken from website of CIRAD)

In the highlands of Madagascar, upland rice growing has developed in recent years thanks to the availability of varieties suited to the prevailing low temperatures in this mountainous region. However, what repercussions is climate change likely to have on this crop, on which a large proportion of the island’s inhabitants depend? By simulating rice production over a century, depending on the extent of climate change and the cropping practices adopted, a team from CIRAD and FOFIFA came up with a surprising result: it was the most pessimistic climate scenario that enabled the best yields.

Global warming could have serious consequences for rice production, and as a result for food security. Precise data on the effects of global warming are few and far between, and primarily concern irrigated rice. Upland rice, on the other hand, has never been studied before.

A team of researchers from CIRAD and the Malagasy National Institute of Agricultural Research (FOFIFA) looked into the impact of global warming on upland rice productivity in the highlands of Madagascar, where the crop has developed recently. Their study covered a ninety-year period, from 2010 to 2099, depending on the cropping system adopted.

Two climate change scenarios

Rice yields were simulated using the CERES-Rice model, which was calibrated and then validated using the FOFIFA 161 rice cultivar, for which a set of experimental data was compiled over a six-year period. The cropping systems comprised two soil tillage systems – hand ploughing and no-tillage – and two nitrogen fertilizer rates – high and low.

In relation to the control, without climate change, two scenarios were tested. In the first, carbon dioxide emissions increased gradually up to 750 ppm and the temperature rose by 0.15 °C per decade. This was the optimistic scenario, in which the increase in carbon dioxide levels and the relatively moderate increase in temperature were supposed to foster rice growth.

In the second scenario, carbon dioxide emissions also rose gradually, but the temperature rose by 0.5 °C per decade and rainfall fell by 0.2 mm a day between December and February. This was the pessimistic scenario, in which the combination of a marked rise in temperature and a reduction in rainfall could have led to severe water stress in rice.

Surprising results

The analysis did not reveal any differences in yields between the soil tillage systems, irrespective of the degree of climate change and fertilizer rate. No-tillage did not improve yields compared to tillage, or the efficacy of water use or nitrogen uptake by the plant. It is likely that in order to significantly improve soil properties, no-tillage requires substantial dry matter production, which is impossible to achieve at the prevailing low temperatures in the region.

However, fertilization did have a significant effect on yields, with a gain of 1500 kg/ha of grain for nitrogen applications of 45 kg/ha. Nitrogen is a major constraint in this type of soil, in which its availability is reduced due to the soil’s poor anion exchange capacity and to leaching.

Rice yields, which were 5478 kg/ha on average, were markedly higher in the pessimistic scenario, with a gain of 576 kg/ha compared to the control. In that scenario, the increase in temperature speeded up flowering and grain maturity, in such a way that the demand for water and nutrients from the plant tallied better with their availability in the soil. Yield variability was lower, and the gap between this scenario and the others continued to grow over the years.

A positive effect on rice productivity

Although the initial hypotheses – crops without biotic constraints or marked weather events – limit the import of the results, global warming could have a positive effect on rice productivity in this cold region, where rice is grown at the lower limit of its temperature tolerance.

Unlike what it likely to happen in southern Asia, where rice is grown at the upper limit of its temperature tolerance and yields are likely to fall overall, the most “pessimistic” forecasts in terms of temperature could lead to a marked increase in yields in the highlands of Madagascar.

I acknowledge that the source of the important article ,’The beneficial effects of climate change on rice in Madagascar’ is the website of CIRAD which may be accessed at the following link:

http://www.cirad.fr/en/research-operations/research-results/2012/the-beneficial-effects-of-climate-change-on-rice-in-madagascar

The article has been published in this website to share and disseminate the research findings.All readers are invited to read and share their feelings about this article.

Cold Wave Hits Bangladesh:Is it An Indication of Climate Change?

The winter in Bangladesh was generally considered as pleasant.Usually lifestyle change in this season and many activities like,visiting countryside with family and friends, picnic,travels,sightseeing,festivals,fairs,ceremonies take place in this season.Many exotic and indigenous vegetables and fruits give the markets a colorful look and consumers make delicious  food items.One special activity in the winter of Bangladesh is making of various types of country cakes(locally called pitha) with rice,coconut,molasses made from the sap of  date palm,spices and many other ingredients.People generally relish these traditional food items when the invasion of imported foreign and locally machine made  packaged food items flood the market.

Foreign tourists also enjoy the pleasant winter weather of Bangladesh as it is almost similar to the summer of the west.This is why many foreigners from  the whole world and the migrant Bangladeshi people visit Bangladesh during winter.Cool temperature without any trouble of mud making rain give  delightful experience.

But,this winter that has started in December,2012 and rolled to January,2013 is different.Several cold waves have crippled the life of common people.They are struggling frantically to protect themselves from the bite of the shivering cold.Most people lack  sufficient warm clothing and this they are helpless in the foggy and wintry weather.Many children and old people have fallen victims of biting cold weather.News media reported 22 cases of death of humans up to 10 January.2013 .

The temperature in this winter has been recorded as the lowest in 58 years.Though the variation of temperature in different areas of the country may present a wrong picture about the severity of cold wave in particular places.The lowest temperature recorded in Dinajpur on 9 January,2013 was 3.2 degree Celsius while the highest was recorded in Cox’s Bazaar which was 11.8 degree Celsius.

Historically,the lowest temperature was recorded in Bangladesh in Srimangal, Moulvibazaar.The temperature was 2.8 degree Celsius and the day was 4 February,1968.The cold  temperature is mostly influenced by  various phenomena of weather.It has been observed that the adverse effects are many.Many kinds of diseases affect people in cold weather,domestic animals suffer badly in such weather.Crops like paddy  and potato production are badly affected by cold weather.The seedlings of winter paddy,called Boro rice get stunted by severe cold while potato may be damaged by fungal diseases like early and late blight.Mustard is another major crop of Bangladesh of winter which adds beauty to the nature by  its vast expanses of yellow flowers.This crop may be devastated by the attack of an insect pest called Aphid in the foggy weather.

The winter is one of six   vital  seasons of  Bangladesh.It would be a blessing unless the the people is devastated by cold waves.

This year the cold waves are biting hard causing great sufferings to peoples.Should we view the current winter as any indication

of climate change?I welcome the opinion of  experts in this discipline.

I will continue to update this article on the basis of real situation and opinion of experts.

 

 

One Morning of The Spring in My University Campus – Dr. Syed Zainul Abedin

Life in university is always a memorable event.It is not unlikely that an alumnus feel nostalgic when some thought on the university life comes across his or her memory.I encountered a passionate experience this morning when I went for a visit to the campus for some business.This campus is very special for my life and career.I got admitted in 1972 and left the campus in 1977 after graduation. Though the name of educational establishment was Bangladesh Agricultural Institute when I got admitted,this was transformed into a university later as the Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University.

The campus was decorated by the flowers of mango trees.The lovely inflorescences of mango covered most of the canopies of the mango orchard and plants scattered across the campus.The advent of spring is declared by the emergence of mango flowers.The Nobel Laureate poet,Rabindranath Tagore composed the famous poem,’Amar Shonar Bangla….(My golden Bengal)’ indicating that mango flowers bloom in the spring. The other plants that flower to welcome the spring are bauhinia,coral,shimul,polash,krishnochura and shaddock.All these plants were in the campus with their wonderful blooms.The fragrance emitted by these flowers had made the campus a paradise on the earth.Bees and butterflies were flying on the flowers to collect nectar assisting in pollination.There were birds to collect food from the flowers and other sources.

I walked to the horticultural garden.The protected area accomodated many flowers and vegetables.A large

rose garden was there with many varieties.The roses were pink,red,yellow,white,green and mixed.Some of them were very large while some were miniature types.Some had fragrance while others were without any smell.

The vegetables were tomato,cabbage,spinach,onion and many others.Most of the horticultral crops were grown for experiments to understand the production,profit and promotional potential.I met some teachers and researchers in the garden.

I talked with a teacher-researcher who developed some short duration mustard varieties to fit beteween two rice crops which is staple food of our people.He was a successful innovator and continues his work on mustard genetics and breeding program.I visited his experimental fields which reached the harvesting stage.There were some fields of pulses around the fabulous tower erected for holding permanent agricultural fairs.

There were some experiments on rice and wheat too.Various equipments were being used in the experimental fields by trained personnel.All looked very busy to make use of the cool morning weather.

Then,I went to the large cannon ball trees to see their amazing flowers.All the trees carried flowers on their trunks.The cannon ball tree is said to be a rare plant.It carries wonderful flowers that look like the hood of cobra.It is also said that the fruit which resembles cannon ball are poisonous.However poisonous the fruit or flower of this plant may be,I always felt a crazy attraction for this plant,particularly,its amazing flowers.

After the visit of the campus resources,I met a number of persons to accomplish my business.I was welcomed by them.Shared about my passion with them.It was a wonderful morning of spring in my beloved educational centre.

When coming back I looked to the avenue trees of mast tree and road side jackfruit trees.The jackfruit tree were bearing flowers on the trunks and main branches.The beauty of the campus was enhanced by the trees in the campus.

FUTURE AGRICULTURAL SCIENTIST

I went to the countryside of Dhamrai,an Upazila under Dhaka district of Bangladesh to see the conditions of crops in the field.The day of the visit was in April,2010.The weather was sunny with clear sky and the temperature was around 34 degree.The major crops at this time were paddy,maize,cucurbits,brinjal and other vegetables.The fruit trees at the early bearing stage were mango and jack fruit.Moringa, a tree with choice vegetable was also in fruiting stage in some households.This area is also famous for a special variety of lemon which is grown by many farmers in compact blocks.

I was accompanied by two colleagues from the Department of Agricultural Extension(DAE) who served in this Upazila.
We were moving on motorbikes.The paddy fields were showing brilliance and fresh look.At some points we stopped to take a closer view.We were particularly interested about Brown Plant Hopper(BPH) and Sheath Blight of rice.They are real panic for rice crop. BPH is considered as a great threat at this moment for it can damage 100 percent of rice crop.At a point of our journey we stopped at a roadside spot noticing a small patch of rice field with suspicious
appearance.We examined the base of the rice plants to see BPH .We could not find BPH from the surveyed plant bases but we found Sheath Blight affected plants.We compared the specimen with the photo and description of the book published by Bangladesh Rice Research Institute(BRRI).Sheath Blight was confirmed in BRRIDHAN-29 variety.When we were doing the exercise ,a little student going back home from school on a bicycle stopped there.He was trying to listen to what we had been discussing.I felt very good and awaited curiously what the boy would do next.But he was very meek and did not come closer. I invited him to come closer and allowed him to see the specimen and then inspired him to read the note on Sheath Blight contained in BRRI publication.He was very happy for being able to participate.He was a special boy,more intelligent and curious than his classmates who were going back home then along the same road.He took an important practical lesson which might be utilized immediately in husbanding their own crop or answering the examination question on biology.He is a student of local high school and is studying in class seven.He aspired to be an agricultural scientist when he will grow up.The world will need more talented agricultural scientists in the future when there will be more mouths to feed and more challenges to face with fewer land and resources.
The name of the little boy is Abdul Khaleque.I became impressed by his curiosity for learning and for his aspiration to be an agricultural scientist.
I dedicate this Future Agricultural Scientist to the world and invite all concerned to support their education with conducing environment to enable them to face the future challenges across the world.