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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)

Workshop on Research to Inform Food and Nutrition Security Policies in Dhaka,Bangladesh:Dr.Syed Md.Zainul Abedin

 

A two-day Workshop on Research to Inform Food and Nutrition Security Policies was held on  3-4  July 2013 in the Ball  Room of Hotel Ruposhi Bangla ,Dhaka,Bangladesh.

Hon’ble Food Minister Dr.Muhammad Abdur Razzaque MP graced  the Inaugural Session of the workshop as the Chief Guest.He stated in his inaugural speech that Bangladesh is now referred across the world as a country of success for its food security and its ability to address the climate change impacts.He also said,“Once Bangladesh was known as country of famine, drought and flood, but now it is referred across the world as a country of success for its food security and its ability to address the climate change impacts,”

Dr Razzaque said the government considers agriculture, food security and nutrition as major priority areas.“Although we’ve made impressive achievement in grain production, we’re still facing considerable challenges in the areas of nutritional improvement, climate change adaptation, scarce natural resources, and access to safe and nutritious food,” he said.The Food Minister said achieving food and nutrition security is considered by the government as a key development agenda to make the country a middle income one as envisaged in the ‘Vision 2021’.About the country’s success in fighting poverty, he said although Bangladesh still has significant level of poverty, it has made a lot of progress in reducing poverty over the last decade.“Recently, FAO has awarded Bangladesh in recognition of our notable and outstanding progress in fighting hunger… we’ve achieved the UN Millennium Development Goal-1 as the prevalence of undernourishment reduced from 34.6 percent in 1990-92 to 16.8 percent in 2010-12.”Referring to the government steps for ensuring food security, Dr Razzaque said the ‘Country Investment Plan’ has been prepared to implement the food security programs following the ‘Bangladesh Food Security Investment Forum’ held in Dhaka in 2010.
Dr Razzaque said the government considers agriculture, food security and nutrition as major priority areas.“Although we’ve made impressive achievement in grain production, we’re still facing considerable challenges in the areas of nutritional improvement, climate change adaptation, scarce natural resources, and access to safe and nutritious food,” he said.The Food Minister said achieving food and nutrition security is considered by the government as a key development agenda to make the country a middle income one as envisaged in the ‘Vision 2021’.About the country’s success in fighting poverty, he said although Bangladesh still has significant level of poverty, it has made a lot of progress in reducing poverty over the last decade.“Recently, FAO has awarded Bangladesh in recognition of our notable and outstanding progress in fighting hunger… we’ve achieved the UN Millennium Development Goal-1 as the prevalence of undernourishment reduced from 34.6 percent in 1990-92 to 16.8 percent in 2010-12.”Referring to the government steps for ensuring food security, Dr Razzaque said the ‘Country Investment Plan’ has been prepared to implement the food security programmes following the ‘Bangladesh Food Security Investment Forum’ held in Dhaka in 2010. –
FAO Representative in Bangladesh Mike Robson,  EU Bangladesh Delegation-Head of Section-Rural Development  Gonzalo Serrano, NFPCSP-FAO Chief Technical Adviser Ciro Fiorillo and FPMU Director General Naser Farid, spoke at the session. Acting Secretary  of Food Ministry Abdul Awal Hawlader presided.
Guest of Honor,Mr.Kostas G.Stamoulis,Director ESA Division,FAO,Italy sent a message for the success of the workshop since he could not attend the same due to some other appointment.

 

The workshop  held on 3-4 July 2013 has been organized to present final results from 14 research studies and preliminary results from other 2 studies.The Workshop marks the final stage of a process initiated in 2009 with the approval of sixteen research topics by the Ministry of Food,based on the Governments priorities on Food and Nutrition Security.The 16 research were thereafter commissioned to National Research Institutions through an  open competition,with 14 of them initiated in October 2011 and currently completed and other 2 initiated in April 2012 and expected to be completed in fall  2013.The research outcomes are intended to inform Government’s policy making on food and nutrition security.They have  already been used as references for producing the National Food Policy Plan of Action and Country Invest Plan Monitoring Report 2013 that is the annual Government’s  report reviewing progress towards the PoA and CIP’s objective and the evolution of financing and delivery under the CIP.

The participants of the workshop include representatives of the Government of  Bangladesh,Civil Society Organizations(CSOs),Development Partners(DPs),national experts,media and relevant personnel.

The objectives of the workshop are to:

1.Present and discuss results and recommendations of 14 research programs.

2.Review preliminary results of 2 on-going research programs.

It may be mentioned  that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO) and the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU) of the Ministry of Food,Government of Bangladesh are jointly implementing the National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Program(NFPCSP) with the financial support of the European Union(EU) and USAID.The  NFPCSP (www.nfpcsp.org) helps to strengthen institutional and human capacities in Bangladesh to design,implement and monitor  food security policies.Through its Research Grant Scheme,the NFPCSP has funded 16 policy relevant food security and nutrition research programs that will provide concrete policy options for improving food and nutrition security in Bangladesh.

The workshop facilitated dialogue among food security and nutrition researchers,and between researchers and policy makers  to maximize impact of the research completed and promote policy relevance of the two on-going research projects.

Thematic areas of The Workshop on Research to Inform Food and Nutrition Security Policies

1.Food Composition,Food Utilization and Nutrition Thematic Area:

In promoting infant and young child feeding,mothers need to be aware of how to plan and prepare complementary foods and  feed their young   children with the right amount and the right types of foods.

Some options of improved complementary feeding recipes based on food diversity and nutrient adequacy,as well as cultural acceptability had been prepared  and  made available.Similarly,on the basis of normative energy and nutrient requirements for the  Bangladeshi population,plans for sustainable diets at affordable cost with dietary  guidelines for a healthier nation was prepared and shared.Central to these issues are reliable food and nutrient composition data and Food Composition Tables(FCT) the updates for which were provided.Information on safety of foods based on a total diet study was shared to provide insights for agricultural planning,diet and nutritional assessment,food safety regulations  and consumer protection.

2.Food Access Thematic Area:

This theme was consisted of four studies,three of which related to social safety-nets.With the ambition to improve the effectiveness of safety-net programs,one of the studies presented results and policy recommendations on targeting and prioritization issues.Another study presented results on how social safety -nets could assist poor household to respond to climate change and a third study presented how safety-nets could promote productive outcomes for lasting poverty elimination and food security.The fourth study under this thematic area presented fresh evidence on urbanization and its implications for food security.

3.Food Availability Thematic Area:

There were eight studies in this thematic area.Three of them comprised food production inputs of land,ground water and credit which examined their trends,sustainability and accessibility. The study on land presented interesting results on land decline and or increase based on satellite imagery. This study created much interaction among the participants since it was one of the first such studies in Bangladesh.

Two studies investigated the structure and performance of key food markets of rice,and fruit ad vegetables.The rice market study results included an assessment of new milling technology.

Further three studies examined in depth profitability of farming across a range of crops,the trends and drivers in diversification of food production,and how the public rice procurement system influenced farming incentives.

All the studies presented new evidences based on data collected through purposefully designed household and farm surveys.

 

Detailed Program of The Workshop on Research to Inform Food and Nutrition Security Policies

Date        : 3-4 July 2013 (Wednesday and Thursday)

Venue     :Ruposhi Bangla Hotel,Ball Room,1 Minto Road,Dhaka 1000

Day 1      Wednesday   3 July 2013

0820-0920 Arrival and Registration

0920-0930 Guests take their seats

Session I     Inaugural Session

Chief Guest  :Dr.Muhammad Abdur Razzaque MP

Hon’ble  Minister,Ministry of Food

Chair             :Mr.Abdul Awal Hawlader ,Acting Secretary,Ministry of Food

Rapporteurs:Ms. Lalita Bhattacharjee,NFPCSP-FAO and

Mr.Mahbubur Rahman,FPMU

0930-0940 Welcome Address by Mr. Naser Farid

Director General,FPMU,Ministry of Food

0940-1000 Workshop Objectives by Mr. Ciro Fiorillo

Chief Technical Adviser,NFPCSP-FAO

1000-1010   Address by Guest of Honor,Mr.Kostas G.Stamoulis

Director ESA Division,FAO,Italy

1010-1020  Address by Guest of Honor,Mr.Philippe Jacques

Head of Cooperation,Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh

1020-1030 Address by Guest of Honor,Mr.Richard Greene

Mission Director,USAID,Dhaka,Bangladesh

1030-1040 Address by Special Guest,Mr.Mike Robson

FAO Representative in Bangladesh

1040-1050 Address by the  Chair,Mr.Abdul Awal Hawlader ,Acting Secretary,Ministry of Food

1050-1115 Address by the Chief Guest,Dr.Muhammad Abdur Razzaque MP

Hon’ble  Minister,Ministry of Food

1115-1200 Tea/Coffee

Session II Food Availability:Land,Water,Credit,Profitabilty

  Chair:Prof Dr.M.A.Sattar Mandal,Member (Agriculture,Water Resources and Rural Institutions),Planning Commission,Bangladesh

Rapporteurs:Ms.Merzouk Quraishia,NFPCSP-FAO and

Mr.M.Ismail Miah,FPMU

1200-1215 Trends in the availability of agricultural land in Bangladesh

Mr.Md.Nazmul Hassan,Soil Resources Development Institute

1215-1220 Discussant-Mr.Shahin Yaqub,NFPCSP-FAO

1220-1230 General Discussion

1230-1245 The role of credit in food production and food security in Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Bazlul Haque Khondker,Bureau of Economic Research,University of Dhaka

1245-1250 Discussant-Mr.M.Shahe Alam,NFPCSP-FAO

1250-1300 General Discussion

1300-1400 Prayer and Lunch

1400-1415 Sustainability of groundwater use for irrigation in North West Bangladesh

Dr.Nepal C.Dey,BRAC

1415-1420 Discussant-Mr.Rezaul Karim Talukder,NFPCSP-FAO

1420-1430 General Discussion

1430-1445  Financial and economic profitability of selected agricultural crops in Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Mizanul H.Kajal ,Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University

1445-1450  Discussant-Mr.Rezaul Karim Talukder,NFPCSP-FAO

1450-1500 General Discussion

1500-1510 Remarks from the Chair

 

Session III  Access to Food:Safety-net and Migration

Chair:Prof.Donato Romano,

Department of Economics and Management,

Universita Degli Studi Firenze,Italy

 

Rapporteurs:Ms.Merzouk Quraishia,NFPCSP-FAO and

Mr.M.Abul Hashem,FPMU

1510-1525 Improving the targeting effectiveness of social safety-nets in Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Abul Barkat,Manob Sakti Unnayan Kendra

1525-1530 Discussant-Mr.Shahin Yaqub,NFPCSP-FAO

1530 -1545 General Discussion

 

1545 -1600 Adapting social safety-net programs to climate change shocks: issues and options for Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.M.A.Awal,Department of Crop Botany,Bangladesh Agricultural University

1600-1605 Discussant-Mr.Shahin Yaqub,NFPCSP-FAO

1605- -1615 General Discussion

 

1615-1630 Rural-urban migration and its implications for food security in  Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Md.Zakir Hossain,Department of Statistics,

Shahjalal  University of Science and Technology

1630-1635   Discussant-Mr.M.Shahe Alam,NFPCSP-FAO

1635-1650  General Discussion

 

1650-1705 Social safety-nets and productive outcomes :evidence and implications for Bangladesh

Dr.Ismat Ara Begum,Department of Agricultural Economics,

Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology

Bangladesh Agricultural University

1705–1710 Discussant-Mr.Rezaul Karim Talukder,NFPCSP-FAO

1710-1725  General Discussion

1725-1735 Remarks from the Chair

1735-1750 Tea/Coffee

 

Day 2      Thursday   4 July 2013

Session IV Nutrition :Food Composition and Dietary Intake

Chair:Prof.Dr.M.Q.K.Talukdar

Chairman,Centre for Women and Child Health

Rapporteurs:Mr.M.A.Mannan,NFPCSP-FAO and

Mr.M.Faruq Al Banna,FPMU

0900-0915 Food composition tables for Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Nazma Shaheen,Centre for Advanced Research and Studies,

University of Dhaka

0915-0920 Discussant -Ms. Lalita Bhattacharjee,NFPCSP-FAO

0920-0930  General Discussion

 

0930-0945 Development of a complementary feeding manual for Bangladesh

Dr.A.K.M.Iqbal Kabir,Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation(BBF)

0945-0950 Discussant -Mr.M.A.Mannan,NFPCSP-FAO

0950-1000  General Discussion

 

1000-1015 Desirable dietary pattern for Bangladesh

Dr.Quamrun Nahar,BIRDEM

 

1015-1020 Discussant -Ms. Lalita Bhattacharjee,NFPCSP-FAO

1020-1030  General Discussion

 

1030-1045 Consumption of unsafe foods:heavy metal,mineral and trace element contamination

Prof.Dr.Md.Rafiqul Islam,Department of Soil Science,

Bangladesh Agricultural University

1045-1050 Discussant -Mr.M.A.Mannan,NFPCSP-FAO

1050-1100  General Discussion

1100-1115 Remarks from the Chair

1115-1130 Tea/Coffee

 

Session V  Food Availability : Diversification,Efficiency and Support to Farmers

Chair:Mr. Ciro Fiorillo

Chief Technical Adviser,NFPCSP-FAO   and

Prof.Dr.Shamsul Alam,Member(General Economics Division)

Planning Commission,Bangladesh

1130-1145 Improving the marketing systems of fruits and vegetables in Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Md.Kamrul Hassan,Department of Horticulture,

Bangladesh Agricultural University

1145-1150 Discussant -Mr.Shaikh Abdus Sabur,NFPCSP-FAO

1150-1200  General Discussion

 

1200-1215 Policy options for supporting agricultural diversification in Bangladesh

Dr.Md.Monayem Miah,Agricultural Economics Division,

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute

1215-1220   Discussant-Mr.M.Shahe Alam,NFPCSP-FAO

1220-1230  General Discussion

 

1230-1245 Structure,conduct and performance of the rice market and the impact of technological changes in milling.

Prof.Dr.Shankar K.Raha,Institute of Agribusiness and Development Studies,Bangladesh Agricultural University

1245-1250 Discussant -Mr.Shaikh Abdus Sabur,NFPCSP-FAO

1250-1300  General Discussion

 

1300-1315 Effectiveness of Bangladesh’s rice procurement system and possible alternatives:supporting farmers’ income and sustaining production incentives

Dr.Mohammad Jahangir Alam,Department of Agribusiness and Marketing ,

Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology,

Bangladesh Agricultural University

1315–1320 Discussant -Mr.Shaikh Abdus Sabur,NFPCSP-FAO

1320-1330  General Discussion

1330-1345  Remarks from the Chair

1345-1400 Closing Remarks by Mr. Naser Farid

Director General,FPMU,Ministry of Food

1400-1430 Prayer and Lunch