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Zinc-enriched rice for food, nutrition security stressed

Zinc-enriched rice for food, nutrition security stressed

Enhanced cultivation of high yielding zinc-enriched rice can ensure food and nutrition security preventing deficiency of zinc, iron and vitamin-A for normal growth of children and increasing disease resistant capacity.Experts viewed this at a farmers’ field day organised by RDRS Bangladesh, an NGO, to demonstrate cultivation technologies and harvesting of zinc-enriched BRRI dhan 62 rice in village Rampur Pirhat under Kaharol upazila in Dinajpur on Wednesday afternoon.The NGO has been expanding farming technology, seed production, processing and storing of the high zinc-enriched BRRI dhan 62 rice at 350 exhibition plots in Rangpur, Nilphamari and Gaibandha under The HarvestPlus Challenge Programme.The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) have been coordinating the technology dissemination process for ensuring seed production, processing and storing of the high zinc rice.Member of the Parliament from Dinajpur-1 constituency Manoranjan Sheel Gopal formally inaugurated harvest of the short duration zinc-enriched BRRI dhan62 rice at the field of female farmer Ayesha Begum on the occasion and as the chief guest.Programme Manager (Filed Coordination) of RDRS Bangladesh for Dinajpur Tapan Kumar Sahar presided over the function participated by a total of 500 farmers, including 350 male and 150 female farmers, of the area.Kaharol Upazila Agriculture Officer of the Department of Agriculture (DAE) Akherur Rahman, Upazila Agriculture Extension Officer Abu Reza Mohammad Asaduzzaman, General Secretary of Dinajpur district Krishak League valiant freedom fighter Shakhawat Hossain, Agricultural Research & Development Officer of HarvestPlus Bangladesh Ruhul Amin Mandal and Agriculture Officer of RDRS Bangladesh for Dinajpur Syeda Nazma Parveen addressed as special guests.Agriculture and Environment Coordinator of RDRS Bangladesh Mamunur Rashid delivered the keynote presentation and said that the NGO has been expanding cultivation of zinc-enriched rice with the assistance of HarvestPlus Bangladesh since 2013.This season, the NGO has assisted 1,100 farmers of five districts in five districts under Rangpur division in cultivating zinc-enriched BRRI dhan62 on 1,100 bigha lands with one bigha each through demonstrating exhibition plots, he said.He said over 40 percent children of the under-5 age group are malnourished and stunted while an estimated 44 percent children of the same age group are remaining at risk of zinc deficiency and 60 percent women suffering from malnutrition in Bangladesh.Most of the people in Bangladesh depend on rice for meeting majority of their vitamin and mineral requirements and general rice does not contain enough micronutrients required for leading healthy productive life.Terming zinc, iron and vitamin-A as the three most vital micronutrients, he said deficiency of these micronutrients could be met through enhancing cultivation of zinc-enriched BRRI dhan62 rice as rice is the prime food in Bangladesh.Cultivation of short duration BRRI dhan62 in 90 to 100 days also enables farmers in cultivating four crops on the same land in place of three crops annually to further enhance crop intensification to ensure food security under adverse climate, he added.The chief guest stressed for expanded cultivation of BRRI dhan62 for supplementing zinc deficiency of the poor, children and pregnant women and reducing risks of various diseases, maternal, neonatal and child deaths side by side attaining food security.BSS, Rangpur