Feed the Future (FtF) Bangladesh, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and partner seed companies discussed research activities for 2022 to strengthen private-sector breeding programs through modern technologies. The preliminary plan was formulated during the annual review and workshop of FtF Bangladesh-IRRI Rice Breeding Public-Private Partnership Platform held on 10-14 October 2021 in Dhaka.
Led by Dr. Humnath Bhandari, IRRI country representative for Bangladesh, and Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, a plant breeder at IRRI, the workshop was attended by representatives from Supreme Seed Company Limited, Lal Teer Seed Limited, Ispahani Agro Limited, Aftab Bahumukhi Farms Limited, and Metal Agro Limited.
The availability of quality seed is a crucial requirement for a healthy and vigorous crops and an important factor for increasing crop yield. However, resource-poor farmers in Bangladesh have limited access to quality seeds. Although various seed policy reforms have been enacted by the government since the 1990s to attract private seed companies, the seed sector in Bangladesh is still underdeveloped and the supply of quality seeds are heavily dependent on imports.
Dr. Islam and other IRRI scientists provided insights on Rapid Generation Advance (RGA), molecular breeding, and other technology advancements that can help private seed companies upgrade from the traditional pedigree breeding methods, accelerate rice varietal development, and reduce the cost of breeding in the country.
The proposed technical assistance and guidance from IRRI was well received by the partner companies which lack strong inbred research programs. The partner companies aim to develop biotic and abiotic stress tolerance inbred and hybrid parental lines to produce and market their own high-yielding rice varieties.
The partner companies also welcomed additional technical and training support from the institute on rice grain quality analysis at IRRI’s testing lab at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute.