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Rice researchers identified highly adapted advanced breeding lines for Bangladesh ecosystems

Rice researchers identified advanced breeding lines suitable for various types of environment which could help in developing new breeding lines and varieties highly adapted to local ecosystems in Bangladesh to help farmers increase productivity, and in turn strengthen the country’s food security.

The outcomes of the trials were presented during the Annual Advancement Meeting of AGGRi Network Trials 2022 held on 10 May 2022 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The agricultural materials were tested for short-, medium-, to late maturity and stress tolerance (against cold, salinity, and submergence or flooding). They were tested to select the superior breeding lines under different environments in Bangladesh through on-farm field trials under the supervision of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Bangladesh Office and NARes partners.

The results were part of the various field tests conducted in Aman in 2021 conducted by researchers from IRRI Bangladesh in collaboration with Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU). The series of experiments were carried out in seven districts, including Gazipur, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Kushtia, Cumilla, Satkhira, and Barisal. During these tests, researchers studied various materials for short-, medium-, and long-term duration and identified whether they are suitable for drought, salinity, or if they are flood-tolerant.

The findings of the trials are valuable for IRRI and NARES partners like BRRI, BINA, public universities and private entities as these could help enrich their rice breeding research and development, and inform how they develop new varieties.

Dr. Md. Shahjahan Kabir, BRRI Director General was present as a chief guest and Dr. Mirza Mofazzal Islam, BINA Director General was present as a special guest at the meeting.

The event was chaired by Dr. Humnath Bhandari, IRRI Representative for Bangladesh. A wide range of participants attended the meeting including breeders and molecular breeders from IRRI HQ, Manila and IRRI Bangladesh; scientists from BRRI and BINA, Professors from BSMRAU, Khulna University (KU), Sylhet Agricultural University (SAU), and scientists from five private partner companies such as Aftab Bahumukhi Farms Limited, Ispahani Agro Limited, Lal Teer Seed Limited, Metal Agro Limited, and Supreme Seed Company Limited.

“Taken together, the improvements in product focus, selection accuracy, selection intensity, and cycle length, driven by the effective application of new genotyping, phenotyping, and decision support technologies, have the potential to raise the current rate of genetic gain in the staple food crops produced by farmers in the developing world from a current rate that is likely well under 1% annually (and in many instances not significantly different than zero) to at least 2%,” shared Dr. Mirza Mofazzal Islam, BINA Director General. “In the process, farmers will be better protected against a rapidly changing climate and better able to adapt to rapidly commercializing production systems.”

“We have lots of challenges in the future for sustaining food security; BRRI needs a massive reform both in human resource development and physical facilities. It is expected that IRRI’s contribution and collaboration will be continued for the upgradation of research capacity of BRRI, particularly in the field of cutting-edge technologies like genomics, phenomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, genome editing, speed breeding, automation, digitization, mechanization and infra-structure development,” said Dr. Md. Shahjahan Kabir, Director General, BRRI.

At the end of the program, the chief guest and special guest mentioned that this event was important and timely for rice research in Bangladesh, and they hoped that IRRI will continue their research in Bangladesh to improve our rice breeding and play a key role in food security in Bangladesh.