The Bangladesh Seed Association (BSA), the apex body of several formal and informal seed associations engaged in seed production and distribution successfully organized the Bangladesh Seed Congress on 11-13 February 2023 in Dhaka.
Seed self-sufficiency with increased production and access to quality seed was the overarching theme of this international seed congress which was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Bangladesh and inaugurated by the Honorable Agriculture Minister Md. Abdur Razzaque.
“Seed is the key ingredient for agricultural production,” said Dr. Razzaque. “Good quality seeds are essential for increasing production and productivity, and there should be no compromise in the promotion of seed quality.”
Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Wahida Akhter was the special guest at the Bangladesh Seed Congress. Other prominent guests included Mr. Robert D Simpson, the Food and Agriculture country representative in Bangladesh; Dr. Manish Patel, president of Asia and Pacific Seed Association; and Mr. Michael Keller, secretary general of the International Seed Federation. Dr. Jean Balié, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), attended the opening online.
Participating seed producing companies, seed associations from different countries, national and international research institutes, non-profit organizations, and agricultural universities set up booths displaying different innovations for attaining low-cost, high-returns farming.
Technical sessions were also organized at the Bangladesh Seed Congress. Dr. Swati Nayak, the South Asia lead of the Seed Systems & Product Management at IRRI discussed seed system innovations and the future direction for enhanced genetic gain in the context of Bangladesh. She highlighted the urgent need for a fast-paced varietal turnover for improved genetic gain realization. She also shared the accomplishments and learnings of community-led seed production in India and Bangladesh.
Mr. Md. Ashraful Habib, the lead specialist at IRRI’s Seed Systems & Product Management elaborated on the institute's present work on varietal evaluations and women-led seed production initiatives in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Seed Congress served as a platform to showcase IRRI’s groundbreaking activities towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the country. IRRI has been working in Bangladesh for over five decades providing cutting-edge and evidence-based research outcomes for improved rice production. IRRI has developed and provides high quality seeds of climate-resilient rice varieties for dissemination to the farmers of Bangladesh.
IRRI featured seeds of the varieties at the institute’s booth, where stakeholders had the opportunity to learn about different best-fit varieties.
A prototype of extension innovations such as varietal head-to-head trials, strip trials, crop cafeterias, and cluster demonstration were also showcased at the IRRI booth. These methods are instrumental for assessment, popularization, and advancement of new varieties. The benefits of the rapid generation advance breeding technology were presented at the booth as well.
IRRI also featured its policy-level initiative Seeds without Borders (SWB) and how it benefits signatory countries with the release of higher quality varieties of seeds from other countries. There was a lot of interest shown by the participants on SWB indicating the potential and effectiveness of the policy amongst scientists, practitioners, and administrators.
Dr. Akhtar visited the IRRI booth and interacted with the team. IRRI received overwhelming response from visitors, especially the quality seed production material.