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Capacitating seed dealers and producers of Bangladesh in improved seed production and marketing

M Ashraful Habib, Saidul Islam, and Swati Nayak

The Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)-Bangladesh collaborated and organized a training activity to enhance awareness, knowledge, and skills of BADC-registered seed dealers and producers on rice seed production, processing, preservation, and marketing. The activity also aimed to increase the capacity of seed value chain actors to provide services to their networks and farmer communities.

A total 45 registered seed dealers and 15 seed producers and entrepreneurs participated in the Quality rice seed production, processing, preservation, and marketing of new rice varieties training program held on 21 December 2021 at BADC headquarters in Dhaka.

Although Bangladesh has enacted various seed policy reforms since the 1990s, the country’s seed sector remains underdeveloped and continues to rely heavily on imports for the supply of quality seeds. The efficient marketing of improved varieties is important in increasing crop productivity in farmers’ fields.

The seed industry in the country comprises both the public and private sectors with the public sector providing the source of seeds for crops such as rice to meet seed demand of about 314 thousand metric tons annually. BADC is one of the most prominent government agencies responsible for the production and supply of commercial seeds in the market.

Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and BADC Chairman AFM Hayatullah emphasized the importance of the training program in increasing quality rice seed production, preservation, and dissemination in Bangladesh.

Mr. Hayatullah also acknowledged IRRI’s role in increasing rice production in Bangladesh and thanked IRRI for partnering with BADC to improve the seed system and increase the awareness of new rice varieties among seed producers, dealers, and farmers.

IRRI Country Representative for Bangladesh Dr. Humnath Bhandari echoed the importance of the IRRI-BADC partnership in the institute’s research-for-development activities in the country.

The training was conducted by seed system specialists from BADC including Research Cell Joint Director Dr. Md. Nazmul Islam and Seed Wing Deputy Manager Dr. Md. Mahbubur Rahman. Mr. Muhammad Ashraful Habib and Dr. Saidul Islam from IRRI Bangladesh Office also provided  their expertise.

The training was an activity of the Accelerated Genetic Gain in Rice (AGGRi) Alliance funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by IRRI in partnership with national agricultural research and extension systems. The AGRRi Team in Bangladesh and BADC have co-designed and implemented 10 different training in different locations in the 2021 boro season for 400 BADC-registered seed producers and dealers. This strategic collaboration paves the way for a strengthened seed supply chain and enhanced access to quality seeds.