High zinc rice begins benefitting BD women – children | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

High zinc rice begins benefitting BD women – children


Dhaka – Bangladeshi women and children suffering from zinc deficiency have started benefitting from the introduction of biofortified zinc rice varieties that have been introduced for production and consumption by smallholder farm households.With the help of partners, HarvestPlus Bangladesh program aims to further develop and widely disseminate high-yielding, comparatively disease and pest tolerant biofortified rice varieties which will provide more than 80% of daily zinc needs to target communities.
Zinc deficiency compromises the immune system, stunts growth in children, and increases the risk of diarrheal disease and respiratory infections. In Bangladeshi, where 41 percent of children aged under five are zinc deficient, a new variety of rice—the country’s most popular staple food—is bringing hope to families.
Zinc-rich rice is now available in the country under joint efforts of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), HarvestPlus, and other partners promoting this biofortified nutritious crop. Women are leading the adoption of the crop. Khairul Bashar, the HarvestPlus Country Manager for Bangladesh, has a story of one particular woman’s determination to improve her son’s health through zinc rice.
This was revealed at a press briefing at the HarvestPlus Bangladesh (IRRI Bangladesh) Office, Dhaka early this week.
Dr Howarth “Howdy” Bouis, Founding Director and Ambassador-at-large of HarvestPlus who has been on a visit to Bangladesh presented a brief overview of the global status of biofortified crops and Dr Khairul Bashar Country Manager, HarvestPlus Bangladesh spoke on biofortified crop status in Bangladesh. Dr Howarth won the 2016 World Food Prize along with three other scientists, for his remarkable contribution to expanding the impact of biofortification to reduce hidden hunger.
Under the support of HarvestPlus, five zinc biofortified rice varieties (T.Aman season: BRRI dhan62, BRRI dhan72; Boro season: BRRI dhan64, BRRI dhan74) have been nationally released in Bangladesh with high yield and beneficial agronomic traits desired by farmers. Out of which, four inbred zinc rice varieties were released by BRRI and one hybrid zinc enriched variety by BSMRAU (BU Aromatic Hybrid rice). Till FY 2016, HarvestPlus has reached around 498,400 farm households providing approximately 908 tons free seed in more than 350 Upazilas spreading across 62 districts. HarvestPlus works with government organizations, NGOs, and seed multiplier associations. Seed multiplying partners are being trained on zinc rice seed production and preservation.
Currently, HarvestPlus is expanding its partnerships to reach more smallholder farmers and consumers in Bangladesh. A comprehensive effort in public private partnership involving seed producers (public institution and private companies), crop growers (farmer community), rice traders and millers boosted the zinc rice adoption in a quickest possible time. In the next five years, HarvestPlus targets to mainstream biofortification in agricultural research, extension and involve private sector actors for a sustainable value chain establishment for all biofortified crops.
HarvestPlus improves nutrition and public health by developing and promoting biofortified food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals and providing global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology. HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health(A4NH). – based on HarvestPlus Bangladesh briefing papers: GreenWatch Dhaka <greenwatchbd.com>


Comments are closed.