Bangladesh Seed Industry News

This page features a compilation and selection of Bangladesh seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, with an emphasis on events that impact or affect provinces, regions, counties, cities and locales in Bangladesh. 

The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked.

This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent briefs listed first.




Seed Initiative to Revitalize Jute Farming: February 17: The Bangladesh government is set to distribute around USD 680,000 worth of jute seeds to 330,000 small farmers to encourage the cultivation of the plant. This move aims to reverse the declining trend in jute production and reinforce its position as a key export product. Emphasizing jute's eco-friendly potential, the initiative supports the nation's goal of self-sufficiency in jute seed production amidst a global shift towards sustainable materials. More details here

Rising Popularity of Sunflower Farming: February 7: In Khulna, Bagerhat, Satkhira, and Narail, sunflower cultivation has exceeded 3,100 hectares, outpacing targets in a move towards profitability and efficiency. With favorable weather and government support, including training and market development initiatives, the region is poised to meet its 7,451-tonne production goal. The crop's success reflects a broader strategy to enhance oilseed production and utilize underused land, inspired by national directives. More details here

Cold Wave Delays Boro Cultivation: January 26: A persistent cold spell across northern Bangladesh in January caused significant delays in Boro rice cultivation in Lalmonirhat and Kurigram districts, with a severe impact on seedbeds and daily farming activities. Temperatures of 8.5 degrees Celsius and dense fog have damaged a large portion of Boro seedbeds. More details here

Bangladesh's Moringa Revolution: January 22: Bangladeshi farmers are increasingly adopting moringa cultivation, a climate-resilient and economically promising crop. An initiative has engaged about 5,000 farmers across 20 districts to cultivate this fast-growing and drought-resistant tree. Moringa is both adaptable to extreme climates and nutrient-rich, and is often cultivated on fallow lands. This approach not only optimizes land use but also taps into the growing global market for various moringa-based products. The plant's versatility and health benefits make it a valuable asset in both agricultural and health sectors, offering a sustainable solution amid climate change challenges.

New High-Yield Rice Varieties Approved: January 13: The National Seed Board has approved two new Boro rice varieties, BRRI Dhan107 and BRRI Dhan108, developed by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI). BRRI Dhan107 was selected through extensive testing and evaluation across various agro-ecological zones and farmers' fields, proving its high yield and quality. BRRI Dhan108 was developed through hybridization and showed significant promise in yield and grain quality, with features like medium slender grains, lodging tolerance, and a higher grain count per panicle. These varieties aim to enhance national rice production and offer farmers better market value and branding opportunities. More details here

Robust Lentil Harvest Expected in Rajshahi Division: January 4: The Rajshahi division in Bangladesh anticipates a significant lentil yield of approximately 54,101 tonnes from 35,380 hectares during the current Rabi season. The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) aims to produce 32,411 tonnes from 20,620 hectares in Rajshahi Agricultural Zone and 21,690 tonnes from 14,755 hectares in Bogura zone. Farmers receive support through high-yielding seed varieties and government incentives, including free seed and fertilizer. The shift towards lentil cultivation, which requires less irrigation than paddy, is increasingly favored by farmers due to lower production costs and recent profitable market prices. More details here

Bumper Tomato Crop in Cumilla: January 1: Cumilla district in Bangladesh celebrated a bumper tomato harvest this season, bringing joy to local farmers. Over 1,000 hectares were dedicated to tomato cultivation according to the Department of Agricultural Extension. More details here

2023 News



Cyclone Michaung Devastates Potato and Other Crops: December 12, 2023: Cyclone Michaung has caused damage to a wide range of crops, including potatoes, mustard, wheat, maize, vegetables, onions, lentils, and rice. Potato crops have suffered the worst with damage to approximately 13,877 hectares across 15 districts. The cyclone's effects resulted in a substantial loss of approximately 318,000 tonnes of potatoes alone, leading to a loss of around USD 145 million. More details here

Bangladesh's Transforming Agricultural Landscape:  22 Nov: Agritech startups are revolutionizing the agricultural sector by addressing long-standing challenges faced by farmers. These startups offer innovative solutions for financing, market access, and quality input provision, enhancing productivity and income for small-scale farmers. Challenges such as funding, digital literacy, and the need for diverse startups are being addressed, with a focus on sustainable, long-term growth. The sector's transformation is facilitated by collaborations between startups, corporate entities, and farmers, aiming to create a more prosperous future for Bangladesh's agriculture. Source

Rajshahi's Summer Tomato Farming Success: 18 Nov: In Rajshahi, Bangladesh, summer tomato farming is proving lucrative, with farmers like Abul Hossain earning over Taka 1.5 lakh (around $1,765 USD) from just 0.33 acres of land. This boom is due to new hybrid tomato varieties and a shift in cropping practices. The Department of Agricultural Extension notes a marked increase in tomato farming, benefiting the local economy and conserving water in drought-prone areas. This development represents a significant advancement in Rajshahi's agricultural sector. Source

Development and River Erosion Threaten Food Security in Bhola: 27 Oct: Farmers in Char Fasson, Bhola District of Bangladesh, are facing a severe agricultural land crisis due to unplanned infrastructure and erosion from the Meghna River. This has led to a significant reduction in arable land and crop production, including staple crops like rice. Local authorities are concerned about potential future food shortages as the region loses about 1% of its arable land annually to housing construction. The situation has forced many farmers to change their professions, and there is a call for a national land use plan to address the crisis. Source

Bangladesh Focuses on Quick Crop Turnaround to Reduce Imports: 5 Oct: The Bangladesh government is prioritizing the rapid growth of crops to enhance food security, says Agriculture Minister Dr. Abdur Razzaque. A three-year action plan is in place to lessen reliance on imported foods. High-yielding, short-duration crop varieties have been developed, allowing for multiple harvests each year. In its first year, the plan has resulted in mustard production worth over 2.72 billion USD and aims to cut oil imports by half, saving around 9.08 billion USD annually.




Bangladesh Nears Aman Rice Cultivation Goals: 20 Sep: Bangladesh is on track to meet its cultivation goals for Aman rice, the country's second-largest rice crop, to ensure domestic food security amid global market fluctuations, according to agricultural officials. As of September 18, farmers have planted paddy on 5.8 million hectares, close to the government's target of 5.9 million lakh hectares. The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) had initially aimed to plant paddy on 5.65 million hectares and has achieved 99.46% of that goal. The agriculture ministry aims to harvest 17 million tonnes of rice from the Aman crop starting in November. Source


Bhola district plants 50,000 palm seeds to ‘combat climate’: August 25: In response to natural disasters and to restore environmental balance, Bhola district in Bangladesh is undertaking the planting of 50,000 palm seeds across coastal areas. The initiative by the Forest Department aims to prioritize high-risk zones. Planting is already underway in seven range areas and forest extension centers. Indigenous palm seeds, known for rapid germination, are being cultivated, with completion expected in the first week of the coming month. Source.

Agriculture experts urge farmers to produce quality seed using Modern tech: August 23:  Agriculture experts emphasized the importance of producing high-quality seed of rice, wheat, and jute using modern technology to meet demand and achieve desired crop outputs. They highlighted the issue of dishonest traders selling substandard and adulterated seeds to farmers in attractive packages, leading to cheated farmers. Producing quality seed was deemed essential to counter this problem. The remarks were made during a field day event for farmers, focusing on producing and preserving quality seed through modern techniques in Sreemukh Kashiabari village, organized by the Palashbari upazila agriculture office. The event aimed to promote the production, storage, and distribution of high-quality rice, wheat, and jute seeds at the farmer level. Source

Efforts to boost seed production through coordination and smart technologies: August 6: Coordinated efforts among various agricultural entities, including the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and research institutes, are essential for enhancing the production of quality seeds to meet growing demands for crops. Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture emphasized the need for collaboration during a seminar titled "Seed Industries Development through using Smart Technologies" held in Rajshahi. The event discussed ways to achieve seed self-reliance through the promotion of smart technologies. Additional Secretary (Extension) Rabindrashree Barua highlighted the importance of innovation and modern methods to achieve desired agricultural yields and quality seed production. Source.

NASA data helps Bangladeshi rice farmers save water, money, and energy: August 3: Researchers from the University of Washington and Bangladesh's Ministry of Agriculture are using NASA data to aid the country's rice farmers through the Integrated Rice Advisory System (IRAS). By utilizing satellite data, the program informs farmers about their water usage, availability, and crop requirements. Bangladesh's dry season, from January to June, necessitates groundwater pumping for rice cultivation, which is expensive and carbon-intensive. IRAS aims to reduce water waste by about 30%, lower fuel consumption by 45%, save $115 million in fuel subsidies, and cut carbon emissions by 300,000 tons annually. Source

World’s Most Expensive Chilli Cultivated in Bangladesh: July 25: Amateur farmer Ahmed Jamil Selim has successfully produced the world's most expensive chilli, 'Aji Charapita,' in Bangladesh. Originating from Peru's Amazon rainforest region, this pea-sized bright-yellow chilli pepper boasts a Scoville rating between 30,000 and 100,000 units, delivering a potent heat that is not recommended for raw consumption. With a price tag of $25,000 per kilogram, the Aji Charapita has gained global recognition as a prized culinary ingredient. Source

Aman Paddy Production Debacle Raises Food Crisis Fears in Bangladesh: July 26: The ongoing dry spell in Kurigram, Bangladesh, is causing a debacle in Aman paddy production, raising concerns about a potential food crisis in the region. The agricultural land, expected to be wet with monsoon rains during this time of the year, remains dry, affecting the cultivation of Aman rice, the country's second-largest paddy crop. Repeated floods and unfavorable weather have also impacted previous rice crops, further adding to concerns about food security in the nation. Farmers are worried about the mild heat wave, as any delay in transplanting the seedlings could reduce overall crop yields. As of now, farmers have transplanted Aman on 18,500 hectares of land, out of the government's target of 24,500 hectares, with seedlings prepared on 1,180 hectares. Source:



Bangladesh's Plant Species at Risk: June 24: Source: A comprehensive assessment of Bangladesh's plant life reveals that the country has lost seven plant species over the past century, and now faces the risk of losing at least five more. The national red list identifies these extinct species, including fita champa and ironweed tree, while categorizing five others as critically endangered, such as bans pata and chaulmoogra. Additionally, 127 flora species are considered endangered, 262 vulnerable, and 69 near-threatened. Factors contributing to their disappearance include changing climate patterns, human consumption, and insufficient protection measures. Urgent conservation efforts are needed to safeguard these endangered plant species in Bangladesh. Source.


Delegates observe modern rice research at IRRI: May 23: A delegation from Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) recently toured the International Rice Research Institute's (IRRI) South Asia Regional Centre in Varanasi. The delegation studied IRRI's modern rice technologies and seed production methods. ISARC's Director, Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, emphasized the centre's role in improving rice-based food systems to combat poverty and hunger. Dr. Singh thanked the delegates for the opportunities such visits create for knowledge sharing. Md. Mostafizur Rahman, BADC Member Director (Seed & Horticulture), praised ISARC's high-end laboratory facilities and its dedication to seed systems, rice breeding, and precision agriculture and advocated for further collaborations to promote farmers' welfare and strengthen food systems. Source

Sunflower seeds offer hope for domestic cooking oil: May 24: Bangladeshcurrently imports 88 percent of its 2.4 million-tonne annual cooking oil demand. The government aims to produce 1 million tonnes of oil domestically by 2025 to reduce reliance on imports. Sunflower farming is a potential candidate for meeting some of this demand without affecting rice production. Sunflower farming is preferred over soybeans as it allows for local oil processing, and is ideal for growing in areas with high salinity such as coastal regions. The increased salinity, which is unsuitable for paddy farming, causes higher yields of sunflower seeds. There are around 900,000 hectares of unused saline land, capable of yielding 1.2 to 1.3 million tonnes of oilseeds, equivalent to 400,000 to 450,000 tonnes of edible oil, meeting 16 percent of the country's demand. This year, sunflowers were cultivated on 14,700 hectares, with plans to expand to 34,600 hectares by the 2024-2025 fiscal year. The expansion alone would yield 53,400 tonnes of sunflower seeds, producing 20,292 tonnes of edible oil. Source

Bangladesh eases fumigation requirement on U.S. cotton: May 23: The Bangladesh government has lifted its long-standing fumigation requirement on U.S. cotton imports, saving time and money for Bangladeshi mills. Previously, the mills were paying over a million dollars per year for unnecessary fumigation costs. Under the new regulation, U.S. exporters will provide phytosanitary certificates generated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirming the absence of live boll weevils in U.S. cotton bales. This decision came after a Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture delegation visited the U.S. and met with representatives of the cotton industry in Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas and learned about successful pest eradication programs and modern harvesting and ginning techniques. Bangladesh is the second-largest global cotton importer, and the move strengthens trade relations with the United States. Source

Bumper Onion Seed Harvest Brings Hope for Faridpur Farmers: May 22: Onion seed farmers in Faridpur, Bangladesh, are celebrating a bumper harvest this year thanks to favorable weather conditions during cultivation. The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) reports that 1,867 hectares of land were used for onion seed cultivation this year, with an expected yield of 747 tonnes. In comparison, only 1,714 hectares were cultivated last year, yielding a meager 258 tonnes. Last year, farmers faced low yields due to poor weather and low prices due to imported Indian onion seeds flooding the market. However, this year, farmers anticipate good prices with sufficient local production, hoping to avoid Indian seed imports. Officials from the Faridpur DAE are encouraging farmers to purchase seeds locally, aiming to support the local market. They are optimistic about good yields and prices this year, thanks to favorable weather conditions. Source

Chia seed cultivation presents a profitable opportunity in Rajshahi: April 12: Chia seeds are now being grown in Bagha upazila of Rajshahi district due to their low production cost, good yield, and high market price. Experts believe that commercial cultivation of this nutritious crop could lead to future export opportunities. The cultivation process is simple, requiring no pesticides, and a minimal amount of seeds. The cultivation of chia seeds has gained popularity, with more farmers showing interest. The agricultural department provides necessary guidance and support to farmers in the region. Source

Early harvest optimism, hope: April 22: Farmers in the Haor region of Bangladesh are working tirelessly to harvest their Boro season crops early, hoping to take them home before potential storms and flash floods strike. This is the single season of paddy cultivation in the vast region, and it is a key source of grains for the entire country. The farmers of this area cultivate paddy in two other seasons, but the yield is not as significant as Boro. According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, farmers in Sunamganj have already cut more than 50% of the crops, and the department expects nearly 900,000 tonnes of rice from the Boro season. Many farmers in the seven Haor districts depend on this season to feed their families and pay other expenses throughout the year. Source.

Implementing solutions for high yielding rice: April 3: Bangladesh, which is the fourth-largest rice-producing country in the world, has been heavily reliant on high-yielding rice cultivation to increase its rice production, despite having around 1,000 indigenous rice varieties with better adaptive quality in changing climatic patterns. The use of a few enhanced, high-yielding varieties has resulted in "genetic erosion" and monoculture, which impedes efforts to further improve crop varieties, according to the Global Sustainable Development Report 2015. The shift to monoculture is due to a lack of fair prices and higher cost of production, which has forced farmers to choose popular and reliable varieties. The article suggests that the government should introduce a mechanism to ensure farmers receive fair prices and have enough options within a profitable range to solve this problem. Source.

Bangladesh potato boom: March 24: Bangladesh, the third-largest potato producer in Asia, celebrates another year of success in potato exports. Last year, Bangladesh produced 11 million tons of potatoes, exporting almost 0.8 million tons, with more than a third going to Malaysia, and a fifth going to Nepal and Sri Lanka each. Other importing countries include Myanmar, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Brunei, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, and Lebanon. The Ministry of Agriculture is also planning to start exports to Russia, Fiji, and Vietnam. Four producer cooperatives joined the fourth annual potato export inauguration in Rangpur, the country's main potato-growing region. Potato producer organizations in Rangpur have been producing export-quality potatoes employing "good agricultural practices" with training from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the last four years. Source.


Concern for falling imports ahead of Ramadan: February 11:  As Ramadan approaches, both importers and consumers are concerned about a possible increase in the prices of daily necessities during the fasting month. In response, austerity measures implemented by the Bangladesh Bank are serving to restrict the import of non-essential goods ahead of the upcoming Ramadan period; However, these measures have affected all imports, including essential Ramadan items like edible oil, dates, chickpeas, soybean seed, peas, sugar, and flour.  From November through January of the current fiscal year 2022–23, compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year, imports of chickpeas, another important Ramadan item, decreased by 56%. Imports of vital Ramadan commodities like edible oil and dates have decreased by around 42-47%. During that time, imports of soybean seed and peas decreased by 83% and 18%, respectively, while imports of sugar decreased by only 2%. The majority of essentials for Ramadan, such as chickpeas, pulses, dates, edible oil, sugar, and wheat, depend on imports. This year’s Ramadan period commences around the third week of March. Source


IRRI join with seed certifier to train women rice seed trainers: Last  December 21 and 22, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU), Seed Certification Agency (SCA), an institute affiliated with the Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture, and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) collaborated to deliver a hands-on training on rice seed production, processing, storage, and certification at the SCA Institute in Gazipur. The main objective was to provide training to 70 women ToT (Trainer of Trainers) farmers from various women-led farmers groups. The training sessions were tailored to the conceptual and practical experiences of women farmers and were informed by their understanding of the various aspects of rice seed production and marketing. The participants received instruction on seed processing, storage, packaging, and certification, following the field inspection manual, and learned about different aspects of seed quality, business laws, seed licensing, and registration. A practical session on conducting tests for seed germination, purity, moisture content, and viability, as well as exposure to seed conditioning systems and laboratory equipment, was also included. Source

2022 News




Q3 News

Crops drying up in summer heat: August 25: Following “unprecedented’ flash floods in June that submerged 15,852 hectares in northeastern Bangladesh, farmers are now facing drought, following a July with the lowest rainfall for the month since 1981, impacting output of rice. Source

BRRI and IRRI in modern rice breeding training: August 22: Some 60 rice researchers from Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) took part in a virtual training in modern rice breeding techniques and technologies, which was  organized  by the Rice Breeding Innovations Platform (RBI) of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which covered statistical genomics and quantitative genetics applications. Source

IRRI bolsters Bangladeshi capacity in certified seed: August 2: The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Bangladesh and the Seed Certification Agency (SCA) trained 25 participants from a number of private seed companies on 18 and 19 July at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) on matters of rice seed certification. Source.

Flood-affected farmers get free seeds, fertilizer: July 30: The government has distributed free seeds and fertilizers worth BDT 110 million ($1.1 million) to 185,000 farmers in 17 districts affected by recent floods, including Amon seeds for 94,000 farmers, and seeds for farmers in the districts of Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar and Habiganj who were most affected. Source.

CABI-led research to tackle fall armyworm: July 16: Research led by the Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), published in the CABI Agriculture and Bioscience journal, and carried out in conjunction with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), proposes to establish local Biological Control Agent (BCA) hubs to address the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), which has caused havoc for maize farmers. Source

Paddy, veg crops  stressed by dry, hot conditions: July 20:  Paddy and vegetable seedbeds and vegetable fields have been at a loss this summer season in Bangladesh, with water and irrigation supplies reportedly cut off  According to the sources of Cox's Bazar Directorate of Agriculture, 3,550 hectares of Aush rice varieties and 78,930 hectares of Aman rice varieties are cultivated in Cox's Bazar district. Currently. But so far most farmers have not been able to cultivate, and productivity has been impacted in  Chowchir and Asana due to a shortage of water and unreliable/unpredictable rain. Source

Rice seeds and fertilizers distributed to 300 farmers in Chittagong: July 20: On July 19, the Sitakunda Upazila Agriculture Department of Chittagong District organized a free rice seed and fertilizer distribution program for the small and marginal farmers of the area. In the Kharif-2 season of 2022 free Ufshi variety seeds and fertilizers were distributed to 300 small and marginal farmers in the area to help increase rice production. Read original story in Bengali here

Dealer fined for smuggling seed rice in Dharmapasha: July 18: A mobile court in Sunamganj District in the Division of Sylhet has issued a fine of 5 thousand rupees, around 50 USD, to a dealer for the crime of selling Br-39 high-yielding rice seeds on the black market for a higher price instead of selling to the allotted farmers of Dharmapasha Upazila.

After a tip-off the dealer was arrested along with the seeds that were loaded into his autorickshaw. He was ordered to pay a fine and promise not to commit such irregularities in the future. Read original story in Bengali here.

Distribution of rice seeds to flood-affected farmers: July 15: The Bangladesh Seed Association (BSA) has been helping flood-affected farmers in the country by supplying rice seeds to farmers in 12 districts that have been recently affected by severe floods. The private sector seed supplier organization is giving two to three kilograms of seeds to each farmer. Fakhrul Islam, executive director of Bangladesh Seed Association, said that 30 tons of seeds will be provided to more than thirteen thousand farmers, enough paddy seed for planting one bigha (0.4 acres). Inbred varieties are being given in four districts of Sylhet region and hybrid varieties are being given in the remaining eight districts, including 200 flood-affected farmers in Tangail Sadar Upazila. Hybrid rice seeds are provided by Bearcrop Science Bangladesh Limited, Supreme Seed Company Limited while ACI is providing inbred seeds. Read original story in Bengali here

Training and seed distribution for farmers in Kurigram: July 14: Training and flood-tolerant seeds was provided to 40 flood-affected farmers in Kurigram District of Rangpur. Each farmer who participated in the training was provided with 5 kg of Bina-11 flood-tolerant rice seeds. Read original story in Bengali here

Flood-affected farmers enrolled in seed aid scheme: July 12: The Nagaon District Agriculture Department distributed free seeds of improved varieties of crops to flood-affected farmers in Kampur on Monday. The scheme was launched in 2013 to provide free distribution of high-quality crop seeds to flood victims in Kampur. However, most farmers were not aware of the scheme and had not applied, prompting a local member of parliament to personally provide funds to assist farmers in enrolling in the scheme. Read original story in Bengali here 

Hybrid rice seeds distributed to Faridpur farmers: July 8: More high-yielding Arize hybrid rice seeds have been distributed free of cost to the farmers in Faridpur. The rice strain is brown grasshopper tolerant and resistant to leaf blight. 100 kg of rice seeds was distributed among 50 farmers of Sadar Upazila, and officials stated that the rice seeds would be distributed free of cost to the farmers in the future. Read original story in Bengali here

Flood-affected Sylhet farmers receive seed and food assistance: July 7: The Department of Agricultural Extension assisted flood-affected farmers in the Sylhet Division of northeastern Bangladesh. The aid included vegetable seeds and food, which was distributed among about two thousand farmers in Sunamganj and Sylhet regions. Read original story in Bengali here

Faridpur farmers to receive rice crop incentive: July 6: A free rice seed and fertilizer distribution program has been inaugurated in Bowalmari Upazila of Faridpur District. The seeds and fertilizers will be distributed under the Kharif-2 season incentive program organized by the Department of Agricultural Extension to spur rice production in the area. In 2022, rice crop incentives are being distributed among a total of 600 small and marginal farmers in Bowalmari Upazila. Under the program, farmers will receive 5 kg of Ufshi Aman paddy seed, 10 kg of DAP fertilizer, and 10 kg of MOP fertilizer for every bigha (0.4 acres) of land. Read original in Bengali here

Rice seeds granted to farmers in Chittagong: July 4: Rice seeds and fertilizer have been distributed to 1,000 small and marginal farmers in Kachua Upazila in Chittagong. The aid included 5 kg of Ufshi rice seeds, 10 kg of MOP and 10 kg of DAP fertilizer per farmer. Read original story in Bengali here

Small farmers in Natore receive onion seed aid: June 23: Free summer onion crop seeds, fertilizers, and other materials were distributed to 70 small and marginal farmers at Bagatipara Upazila in Natore District of Rajshahi during Kharif season under an agricultural incentive program. The aid was distributed by the Upazila Agriculture Extension Department and included 1 kg of seeds, 20 kg of DAP and 20 kg of MOP fertilizer per bigha (0.4 acres) of land. Read original story in Benglai here

Free seeds to be given to flood victims: June 21: Farmers affected by floods in Sylhet are to be provided with aid in the form of free seeds as well as fertilizers and pesticides according to Minister of Agriculture, Abdur Razzaq. He added that although 163,000 hectares had been affected in the area, there was no paddy crop planted, and so the effect on food production would be minimal. However, around six thousand hectares of vegetables were damaged by the flood. Read original story in Bengali here

Lakshmipur seed dealer fined for trademark infringement: July 4: A seed trader in Lakshmipur District has been fined for fraud. A mobile court fined the trader around USD 100 for selling packaged seeds under the trademarked name of 'Masud Beej Bhandar' without approval. Original story in Bengali here

Q2 News

Joypurhat field crop seed exhibition: May 27: A seed production exhibition has been set up in the district of Joypurhat in northern Bangladesh to promote production of high quality seeds of paddy, wheat and jute seed production. The exhibition has been set up on about 450 acres of land,. The government has provided material assistance to the farmers for storage of high quality seeds, fertilizers and seeds. Source.

Domestic seed supply is billion dollar business: May 18: $1.1 bn seed market: May 18: Seeds worth around Tk 100 billion ($1.1 billion) are being sold in the country every year, with rice seeds leading in demand, followed by vegetable seeds, especially tomato and cucumber seeds.According to a review of data fromthe Department of Agricultural Extension and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in 2021, seeds of various crops, including vegetables, paddy, wheat, maize, jute, tea and tobacco were sold in the country to the tune of Tk 8,924 crore. Of this, seeds worth Tk 2,600 have been supplied by various manufacturers and importers. Source

Q1 News

BADC to set up seed breeding farm: March 23: The government has decided to set up seed breeding farms to improve food security, alleviate poverty and improve the living standards of coastal people. This will make it possible to produce high yielding disease free and quality seeds. This farm will also increase the capacity of the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC), which will set up a seed breeding farm on nearly 630 acres in the ​​Sonagazi upazila of Feni district. See original story here

Onion seed farmers busy, worry of crop failure: March 23: Various local reports highlight onion seed sowing trends and concerns, including in Rajbari, Mujibnagar, and Baliadangi: Although the planting of onion seeds has reportedly increased this year in Rajbari, which is amongst the top producing onion  production regions in Bangladesh, accounting for about 14 percent of the country's onion output is in this district, farmers there are worried about crop failure linked to heavy rains and a dearth of pollinator bees. Rajbari plays an important role in onion supply, including for seed production. Onion seeds are primarily sown in five upazilas, especially in Rajbari Sadar, Pangsha and Kalukhali.If there is no natural calamity, productivity is anticipated to be 500 kg per hectare. According to the District Agriculture Extension Department, a target has been set to sow onion seeds on 200 hectares of land in Rajbari this year but 195 hectares have been planted. Last year, cultivation was done on 16 hectares of land and the yield per hectare was about 500  to 600 kg. See original story here. Farmers in Meherpur district are anticipating to produce onion seeds worth Tk 125 crore; however, in case of heavy rains, heavy fog and hailstorm, onion seed production would not be up to standard. At time of press, Sukhsagar onion has been cultivated in 1,550 hectares of land in Mujibnagar of Meherpur. Of this, 38 hectares of land has been cultivated for seed production. Sukhsagar onion production target is 50 tons per hectare or 6,000 metric tons. Sukhsagar onion seed production will aim to be 25 thousand kg on 36 hectares for seed. See original story here. In the Charol, Paria, Sabajpur, Raymahal, Patilbhasha, Marichpara, Khochabari and Bangatuli villages of Dhantala union  Baliadangi upazila of Thakurgaon, where onion seeds are being produced commercially, interest in production is increasing among farmers due to the increasing price of seeds. The time of sowing onion seeds in the land is in November. It takes four months and 10 days for the seeds to mature. Onions do not mature if they are not pollinated. And the main means of pollination of these flowers is bees. Farmers spray pesticides in the field to protect the crop from insect attack. But beneficial insects and bees are dying from that pest. Due to this, the number of bees in onion field is decreasing day by day. So they are trying to pollinate artificially with the touch of their hands. According to the Upazila Agriculture Office, onion seeds have been produced in 26 hectares of land in the upazila this year by private seed companies. See original story here.

FAO solar panels save water for veg production: Powering “greener” vegetable production in Bangladesh Solar panels and green technology combat water scarcity and help farmers grow nutritious food in Cox’s Bazar, where FAO is improving irrigation practices and crop production by tapping into green technologies, including solar energy. Currently, 70 percent of fresh water on the planet is used for agricultural production. Solar-powered systems help reduce water loss by using buried pipe systems instead of open earth canals, which are vulnerable to evaporation and seepage. Read full story here

Farmers in Damurhuda subdistrict succeed in producing jute seeds: February 18: According to the Upazila Jute Development Office, 50 farmers in Damurhuda Upazila of Chuadanga District have cultivated 105 acres of land for jute seed production. According to local farmers, the seeds are relatively easy to produce and do not require a lot of manpower. To encourage the adoption of jute seed production, the Upazila Jute Development Office has provided free seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, equipment to the farmers and has also built irrigation systems, and is purchasing the seeds produced by the farmers for around 900 USD per tonne. Original story in Bengali here

Seed Production Field Day Held in Ranisankail Upazila: February 14: Taking place in Dharamgarh, Thakurgaon district, the field day and discussion was attended by agriculturists and officials from the subdistrict and district level. The purpose of the event was to help improve the quality of local seed production to reduce the country's reliance of imported seeds, particularly seeds of oil crops such as mustard. Original story in Bengali here

FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC): 19 January: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Thirty-sixth Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific is scheduled for the Intercontinental Hotel in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 8 - 11 March 2022. This will be a hybrid meeting, both in-person and via video-conferencing, with live webcasting. Space in the hall is limited, owing to Covid-19 measures, affording room for delegation heads and one delegate each; others monitor proceedings via video in the overflow room. Schedule: Senior Officers Meeting, 8 - 9 March; Inaugural Ceremony, Thursday 10 March; Plenary Session, 10 - 11 March. Languages: Chinese, English, French, Russian. Regional Representatives must receive names, official titles and contact details by 15 February. Copies of the Provisional Annotated Agenda, the Provisional Timetable, the Provisional List of Documents, the Information Note and additional info are available for download here: Register online by 15 February here,

2021 News


Q3 News

Dr. Rakha Hari Sarker welcomed to the South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP): December 23: Dr Sarker is SABP Bangladesh’s new Country Manager. A teacher and researcher at the University of Dhaka, he has served there as Chairman of the Department of Botany. His academic interests include: genetics, plant breeding, and biotechnology. The doctor completed his M.Sc. in the University of Rajshahi’s Department of Botany, and obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Reading in England, where he won a Commonwealth Scholarship, thereafter working with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico; the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in India; and Cornell University in the US and in Germany. He specializes in crop improvement through application of modern breeding techniques and biotech; is interested in propagation and characterization of medicinal plants; and indigenous plants of economic and environmental importance. Dr Sarker has published more than 100 research articles in national and international journals and is co-author of four books published internationally, and Wealth of Bangladesh: Medicinal Plants, published by Bangladesh’s National Museum of Science and Technology. He received the 2018 Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award, Bangladesh’s highest state award for agriculture; has served on the Governing Body of the National Institute of Biotechnology (NIB); and is an editor of the Bangladesh Journal of Botany (BJB) and Executive Editor of Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology Journal (PTC&B). The doctor serves in numerous other leading capacities on related boards inside and outside academia and government. Dr Sarker’s role at the SABP will be to advance institutional governance of biotechnology while collaborating with stakeholders and government. Read full story here.

Farmers buying fertilizer at prices higher than those set by government, which insists there is no crisis: December 19: Farmers are paying premiums ranging from 20 to over 50 percent over government-set prices for 50-kg sacks of Triple Super Phosphate (TSP), Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) and Muriate of Potash (MOP). Officials blamed unscrupulous dealers and retailers for using higher prices on the international market as a pretense for gouging. They noted there is no fertilizer shortage, citing surpluses in each category nationally of 50 percent or more. Officials affirm, moreover, that though prices on the international market have almost tripled, the government will not increase prices locally. Farmers complain that, following a recent hike in diesel fuel prices, they can no longer sustain overhead costs. Dealers, meanwhile, take exception to officials’ assertions regarding price, saying they are forced to purchase fertilizers from importers at higher rates because there is indeed a supply crisis. Officials said they will cancel the dealerships of those implementing unsanctioned rate-hikes, which have been reported in Dinajpur, Kushtia, Chuadanga, Naogaon, Jhenaidah, Sirajganj and a few other districts. Read full story here.

Bumper crops in Bangladesh autumn harvests with Chinese know-how: December 16: Beans, cauliflower, eggplant, gourds, green chili pepper, potatoes, radishes and tomatoes were abundant this year in Manikganj district, northwest of Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, thanks to Chinese help with high-yield seed and proper pest control. Farmers say such early-winter crops are particularly profitable. Dealers say the principal seed selling season lasts from February through August, and demand is strong for Chinese beans, asparagus, butter nuts, radish and watermelon, while markets are stocked with cabbage, cauliflower and other winter vegetables from Chinese seed. Stakeholders explain that the immense improvement in Bangladeshi agriculture is owing to cooperation between the governments of China and Bangladesh, between the two peoples, and between businesses. Read full story here.

Supply of quality seed below one-fourth of total demand: December 13: State-owned Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) lags the private sector in producing high-yield quality seed necessary for agricultural success. BADC growth in quality seed production is 3.78% over 11 years, with almost none in five. Private organizations, meanwhile, take up the slack as BADC currently supplies only 11.5% of demand. Private sector entities register 203 of 218 hybrid Boro paddy varieties and supply 95% of all hybrids. BADC officials complain their staffing levels are down 46%. Seed demand is 1.3 million tonnes annually, falling into three categories: formal (23% of demand), semi-formal (39%) and informal (38%). Category differentiation relates to testing: formal seeds are supervised and tested; informal seeds are sometimes tested, originate with farmers or the private sector, and unsupervised; informal seeds are saved up and sold by farmers wholly outside government control. BADC seeds include Aush, Amon and Boro paddy varieties, wheat, corn, potato, pulses, oil, jute, vegetables and spices. Focus is on paddy. BADC’s goal is to supply 25 percent of total seed demand by 2030. Of vegetable seeds, private company Lal Teer produces 1,000 tonnes -- BADC only 115 tonnes. Regarding hybrids, farmers use nearly 18,000 tonnes of BORO seed: BADC supplies 1360. Leading suppliers include: Lal Teer, Brac, Supreme Seed, ACI, Petrocom, Aftab Bahumukhi, Ispahani Agro, Mollika Seed, National Agricare and multinationals CropScience and Syngenta. Read full story here.

Soaring Chuadanga District cotton production: December 5: 10,000 tonnes of hybrid cotton are expected this year after increase in the number of cotton farmers and land area under cultivation (from 4,000 to 4,332 ha). Transplantation, rather than sowing, will also aid output. Three varieties of hybrid are popular: Rupali-1, White Gold-1 and White Gold-2. Yield is up to 370 kg greater than that of non-hybrids per bigha (about 1,600 sq m). Another variety, Ufasi OP, developed by the Cotton Development Board, requires roughly half as many seeds per bigha for planting as other hybrids. 3,000 seedlings are sown per bigha, each containing 100-200 bolls when mature. Costs are Tk8,000-10,000 (10,000 Bangladeshi Taka = US$116) per bigha, with 15-20 maunds (1 maund = 37kg) collected. Profits are from Tk51,000 - 68,000 (TK68,000 = about US$782) at Tk3,400 (about US$37) per maund. Read full story here.

Promising new cotton variety CDB Tula 1: December 4: Bangladesh may free itself from import dependence via high-yield, drought-tolerant, quicker maturing and disease-resistant homegrown cotton variety CDB Tula 1, developed by the Cotton Development Board (CDB) in collaboration with other agencies and now planted at 13 locations, with over a thousand farmers trained to its cultivation. The seed should be available in all Bangladesh cotton-growing regions during 2022. A result of mutation breeding, CDB Tula 1 requires less irrigation as it matures in 140 - 150 days, whereas varieties current in Bangladesh require 180. Fiber quality is excellent, with yields 20 - 30% higher because more seeds are cultivated on less land by narrowing space between rows. Cotton farmers may see a 40% increase in income result. A prodigy of innovation, the new variety was developed in just five years. Read full story here.

Rajshahi and Bogra Agricultural Zone wheat harvests: November 24: 403,000 tonnes are expected from 133,000 hectares in Rajshahi’s eight districts, with another 47,735 from 37,570 hectares in four districts of Bogra. Center of production is 95,210 hectares in four districts of Rajshahi, where the target is 356,000 tonnes. The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) distributed seed and fertilizer free among 67,000 small and marginal farmers for wheat farming under the government’s agricultural incentive program. Planting is done, typically, from November 15 to December 5 -- but this year was reported largely complete by the last week of November. Read full story here.

Relief potatoes urged as surplus coincides with low prices: Aug 23: In letters issued by the agriculture ministry to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, NGO Affairs Bureau and Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, it is being urged to include potatoes in disaster relief packages, citing a surplus of the tuber vegetable. According to data cited from from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), farmers produced more than 10 million tonnes of potato this year, an increase from about 9.6 million tonnes in 2020. The surplus is linked to falling prices. The price of potato offered at cold storage gates in Joypurhat, one of the main potato producing districts in the north, was reportedly only Tk 12 per kilogramme. This is compared to the production cost cited at Tk 17.5 per kg. Low prices have led growers to store 5.5 million tonnes of potato this year for later selling, according to the Bangladesh Cold Storage Association (BCSA). See original story here

Jute exports up as production falls short of expectation: Aug 23: Despite a record turnover in FY 2020-2021 from the export of jute fiber products, farmers are reportedly growing disinterested in the cultivation of the crop. Even as exports grow, production is declining. According to a report, Bangladesh exports 282 jute and jute-based goods to around 135 countries around the globe, and FY 2020-2021 saw a 31% year on year increase. Data from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) shows that Bangladesh had set an annual target to produce 8.2 million tonnes, but finally only 7.4 million tonnes were produced. This is compared to FY 2018-2019 season, when Bangladesh grew 8.5 million tonnes, and 8 million tonnes in FY 2019-20. Department officials are optimistic that the jute cultivation will reach 86 lakh tonnes in FY2021-22 if the weather permits.Most of the crop is cultivated in Faridpur, Jashore, Sirajganj, Bogura, Tangail, Jamalpur and Dhaka districts, and the country depends on the import of around 4,500 tonnes of seeds from India every year. The country aims to become seed-self sufficient in jute seeds by 2026. More details here

Lockdowns, bad weather stressing vegetable farmers: August 10: Excessive rains and lockdown restrictions are causing stress and concern for vegetable farmers in the marshland areas of Nazirpur and Nesarabad upazilas, as well as Barishal's Banaripara upazila. These farmers grow different varieties of vegetable saplings like beans, bitter gourd, papaya, brinjal, pumpkin, tomato and chilli on floating seed-beds, locally known as Dhap, made with water hyacinth. However, it has been a challenge to get their produce to consumers due to the closure of local markets and the lack of wholesale buyers from other parts of the country, citing movement and mobility issues. To make matters worse, excessive rains have been blamed on the damage of vegetable seedlings. See original story here

BINA awarded for nuclear breeding: Aug 2: Dr Shamsun Nahar Begum, chief scientific officer of the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), has been honored with the "Women in Plant Mutation Breeding Award” by the the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has also recognized BINA, a research organization under the Agriculture Ministry, with the "Outstanding Achievement Award". The awards will be formally conferred at the 65th General Conference of the IAEA in September to recognise contributions to plant mutation breeding and related biotechnology. The accolades recognize BINA and their CSO for developing and releasing 112 modern varieties of 18 important crops by using nuclear techniques. Find out more here

Bagerhat crops destroyed by excessive rain: August 2: Excessive rain at the end of July wreaked havoc on cropland in Bagerhat, causing damage to seedbeds, Aman paddy, vegetables, betel leaf and other crops.  According to a figure cited from the Department of Agriculture and Bagerhat Department of Agricultural Extension., crop damages have reached Tk 56.5 million (US$662,000), affecting 1,588 hectares of Aman seedbeds in the district. See original story here

Kurigram, Lalmonirhat paddy farmers distressed by rain shortage: July 23: Aman paddy farmers in Kurigram and Lalmonirhat were in distress by a lack of rainfall to nourish their rain-fed crop. It was also reported that farmers were incurring extra expense to irrigate their land using diesel-powered machines.  According to a target of the Department of Agricultural Extension,Aman paddy was aimed to be sown on 119,000 hectares in Kurigram and 85,515 ha in Lalmonirhat, which prompted farmers to prepare seedbeds on 7,420 ha and 4,448 ha of land, respectively. However, only 10% of the required rainfall was recorded in the first part of July. See full story here.

Salt-tolerant vegetable crop seeds for coast farmers: July 26: Some 10,000 farmers in Bangladesh are being trained in saline agriculture by Bangladesh Cordaid. The farmers are learning how to grow salt-tolerant crops on land that has been damaged by saltwater. The initiative dates back to 2015, when ICCO (now part of Cordaid) “invited Salt Farm Texel to investigate the possibilities of introducing salt-tolerant crops in Bangladesh, including “natural variants” of crops that are adapted to saline conditions, including carrots, potatoes, kohlrabi, cabbage and beets. The Salt Solution and COASTS projects,  made possible by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, a public-private partnership amongst Lal Teer Seeds Ltd, Soil Resource Development Institute of the Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture, Bangladesh Agricultural University and Cordaid. According to a press release, “The next step is to make salt-tolerant seeds widely available so that farmers can buy these seeds on the market. For this, Cordaid works together with the local seed company Lal Teer. Previously, seeds were imported from the Netherlands. However, this is very expensive and time-consuming. To ensure that the salt-tolerant crops remain available after the project ends, Lal Teer is now investigating which seeds they can develop for the market. Full details here. 

Modern plant breeding to the rescue: Jul 24: Bangladeshi government and research institutes are working together to develop new crop varieties using modern agriculture techniques. According to one article, various initiatives by and amongst the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Research (BINA), Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI), and Bangladesh Sugar crop Research Institute (BSRI) have seen breeding breakthroughs resulting in new disease-resistant, high-yielding, nutritious and climate resilient cultivars of rice, maize and various types of fruits vegetables with high proteins, vitamins or other essential nutrients, resistant to different diseases, salinity and drought. To learn more, see article here

Q2 News

Vegetable exports, production surge: June 30: The month of April was a strong month for Bangladeshi vegetable exporters. Citing data from the Ministry of Agriculture, an article notes that Bangladesh exported $180 million worth of various types of vegetables that month, which is  compared to $164 million in April 2020. This included more than 70 types of vegetables, which were exported to 53 countries. Aside from Asia, there was reportedly strong demand in Europe, where vegetable prices were increasing. Another important data point cited in the article is that 28 million tons of vegetables were being produced across Bangladesh, which represents a 37% increase in the past decade. 

Cooperation for zinc-fortified rice: June 30: A news release details a project led by HarvestPlus, who has linked up with World Vision Bangladesh and Nutrition International to promote the cultivation and consumption of biofortified zinc rice. The project, 

Global A airs Canada funded ENRICH (Enhancing Nutrition Services to Improve Maternal and Child Health in Africa and Asia) project has seen the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) developing and releasing the first biofortified zinc rice in the world. Biofortication involves conventional breeding using at least one of the parents that naturally contains higher amounts of a micronutrient of interest, to produce staple crops with desirable nutrient and agronomic traits. HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) and is based at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). More details here

BSA honors Father of Hybrid Rice: June 17: Following the passing on May 22 of legendary Chinese rice scientist and agronomist, Professor Yuan Longping, father of the hybrid rice, the Bangladesh Seed Association organized a webinar commemorating the late scientist’s contribution to world agriculture and food security. The webinar was presided over by Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming, and chaired bby BSA President Abdul Awal Mintoo and several other seed industry representatives from both China and Bangladesh. Full details here. Watch, download the webinar here.

Two new bean varieties developed: May 20: Two new varieties of bean have been developed by scientists at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU). A result of more than eight years of research, both varieties are unique in terms of shape, size, yield, color, texture, taste and nutritional value. The two bean varieties can be cultivated as field crops without trellises or stakes due to their short height, and are suitable for cultivation all over Bangladesh, according to BSMRAU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Md. Giashuddin Miah. The varieties are also suitable for cultivation in pots and will be ideal for growing in home gardens and rooftops in urban areas. Original story in Bengali here 

Optimistic about basin lowland boro paddy: May 19: Trials of Chinese and irrigation-dependent cultivars of paddy (boro) all along the Brahmaputra, Dudhkumar and Gangadhar rivers are looking promising. According to the Upazila Agriculture Office, this time, with demand for this special rice on the up. Yields are reported to be between four to five maunds (150-186kg) per bigha (about 1,337.8 sq. meters). More details in Bengali here

Farmers get seed, fertilizer subsidy relief: Bengali media in April and May has reported on the extensive efforts by the Bangladeshi government to provide Covid-19 relief to farmers in the form of subsidized and free seeds and fertilizer, initiated by the directive of  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to strengthen food security. Reported May 19, politician Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shaon led door-to-door delivery of vegetable seeds to some 500 farmers of Dhaligaurnagar and Charbhuta Unions. See original news here. Similar relief efforts were also reported on April 29: some 3,600 farmers in the Chuadanga district of the western Khulna Division of Bangladesh were provided with “incentive” seeds and fertilizers for the kharif planting season. Distributed at the behest of a local official at the Sadar Upazila, kits for each farmer contained 5 kg of paddy seed, 10 kg of potassium chloride (MOP) and 20 kg of Diammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilizer. See news here.  This follows the distribution of seed and fertilizer to 400 farmers in the Lahmichari upazila of the Khagrachhari district in Chittagong Division, South eastern Bangladesh. News here. Likewise, according to an April 25 report, free fertilizer and seeds of various types of crops were delivered to some 1,500 farmers of the upazila of Satkhira District in the Division of Khulna. News here

Seed saving village: May 14: A farmer in Satkhira District was awarded the Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award in recognition of their efforts in indigenous seed conservation. Alpana Rani Mistry from Dhumghat Village started a local seed bank that now contains over 400 varieties of vegetables and medicinal herb seeds, many on the verge of extinction. Seeds are stored using traditional methods that do not require the use of pesticides, and crops are grown using organic methods. Awareness of the need to preserve local varieties is spreading among other farmers, who have also revived the tradition of seed exchanging. Providing seeds to those in need and taking seeds in payment for other types of seeds. Original story in Bengali

Onion seed black gold in Faridpur: April 25: Onion seeds are being likened to “black gold”  in the district of Faridpur, where farmers are reaping a bumper harvest and high returns. At this time, onion seed farmers in Ambikapur and Ishan Gopalpur Union of Faridpur Sadar Upazila are enthusiastically harvesting seeds from their fields. According to the Faridpur Agriculture Department, onion seeds have been cultivated in 1,650 hectares of land in the region this season, with an expected output of 1,056 metric tons of seed. The market is estimated to be worth Rs 500 crore. An estimated 80% of the total onion seeds supplied to the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC)  were collected from Faridpur Harij Mollah, Julekha Begum, Fatema Khanam and many others in Gobindpur. See original story here, as well as here

Bumper paddy harvest at Tambulkhana Seed Farm: April 21: A paddy seed farmer in Faridpur expects a bumper harvest for its early-maturing, high yielding variety. Starting April 16, the paddy was threshed using a combined harvester, which reduces damage, time and cost of harvest. The paddy was planted at the Tambulkhana Seed Production Farm between December 26 to 31 last year for the production of seed. According to the Tambulkhana Seed Production Farm, 33 metric tons of seeds will be produced from the crop sown on 21 acres this season. See original story here.  

Incentive seeds seized from black market: April 21-22:  A shop owner in Bahubale in the Habiganj district, was fined Tk 20,000 ($237) for allegedly purchasing government incentive seeds, which are not intended for sale. News here. The news follows reports of authorities in Naogaon recovering 125 sacks of agricultural incentives, including fertilizer  and seeds, suspected to be stored for sale on the black market. The seized inputs, which were recovered from a house in Barakai village of Manda upazila, included 48 sacks of DAP, 21 MOP (potash) and 8 sacks of rice seeds. This year, 1,800 small and marginal farmers in 14 unions of the upazila due to get such incentives. The Upazila Agriculture Department is investigating the incident. News here. Similarly, incentive seeds and fertilizer were also seized in Mymensingh's Dhobaura, where smuggling suspects were detained. The seeds and fertilizer were originally distributed among 110 farmers of Dhobaura Sadar Union, each given 5 kg seed paddy and 30 kg fertilizer of two types.  Later, three rickshaws loaded with fertilizer and seeds were intercepted by officials, who found 36 packets (10 kg per packet) of seed paddy and 26 sacks of fertilizer bound for the market. The recovered paddy seeds were to be distributed among at least 72 farmers. 36 farmers received 28 sacks of fertilizer, while officials continue their investigation. Story here

Turning to veg seed farming in Jivannagar: April 19: Seed farmers in Chuadanga's Jivannagar Upazila are increasingly shifting from growing conventional vegetables to seed farming due to better returns, especially through cultivating seeds of various varieties of red spinach. High yielding varieties of red spinach have been planted in 120 hectares of land in Abdulbaria, Dehati, Kashipur, Anantapur, Nishchintapur, Purandapur, Banka and Muktarpur villages of the upazila. From land preparation to seed collection, the cost per acre of land is reportedly between 8 to 10 thousand rupees. After deducting expenses, the profit per bigha of land is between Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000. Original story here

Q1 News

Women onion seed farmer a national model: March 29: A veteren women onion seed farmer from Faridpur,  Shahida Begum, has been lauded as a model seed farmer. Based in the Gobindapur village of Sadar upazila, the farmer last year reportedly earned millions supplying farmers all over Bangladesh with some 200 maunds of various popular varieties of onion seed. Onion seeds have been planted in 1,611 hectares of land in Faridpur district this year. From this, 1,026 metric tons of seeds are expected to be produced. A quarter of these will come from Shahida. See original story here, as well as here.

Subsidized seed assistance for paddy farmers: March 29: In order to increase paddy production, the government will provide farmers with more than Tk 21.5 million ($254,754) in seed assistance. The seeds, produced by the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) will be sold to farmers level at subsdized rates of between Tk 10 to 46 per kg.  Seeds can also be sold at subsidized rates from BADC's District-Upazila Seed Sales Centers. Original news here.

Naogaon farmers switch to onion seeds: March 26: Farmers in Naogaon have high hopes in growing onion seeds. Interest in onion seed cultivation has increased with rising prices this year, prompting many farmers in the district to switch from other crops such as jute, maize and vegetables. According to the District Agriculture Extension Department, onion seeds were planted in 14.73 hectares of land in the district this year. In Manda, seeds were planted in 10 hectares of land, including in Shiata, Gangarampur, Chakuli, Kashopara and Satbaria. Last year, seeds were sold at Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per kg. See original story here

BRRI is top South Asian ‘Food Security Think Tank’: The Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) was rated 16th out of a total 136 research institutes in the world recognized in the 2020 Top Food Security Think Tanks category of the 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report. Thus, BRRI was the top South Asian institute in this category; second in Asia after 15th placed Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and third in the Asia-Pacific region, behind CAAS and 12th placed Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI). The top institute on the global list was the French Agricultural Research for Development. Thes survey, conducted by the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, “has earned the reputation of being at the forefront of research in food security and policymaking in South Asia.” The University of Pennsylvania's Think Tanks and Civil Society Program (TTCSP) released the results of the study on January 26. In the same list, India’s International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is 29th, Center for Policy Dialogue or CPD of Bangladesh is 35th, and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines is 59th. The Think Tank and Civil Society Program (TTCSP) at the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania conducts research on the role of governmental and civic policy organizations worldwide. Details supplied by the Bangladesh Seed Association. Download full list here

BSA member contributes to world record for largest crop art mosaic: Bangladesh has been recognized in the World Guinness Record for the largest Crop Art Mosaic, which is a portrait of the nation’s founding father, Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, etched into paddy fields. The theme architect of this record work is KSM Mustafizur Rahman, Managing Director of National Agricare, an active and prominent member of the Bangladesh Seed Association. According to a report from the Dhaka Tribune, the crop field mosaic is 300 meters wide [from shoulder to shoulder] by 400 meters long [from chest to head], and spans a total 119,430.273sqm (1,285,536.75sqft), “and was achieved by AFM Bahauddin Nasim and KSM Mostafizur Rahman ... in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 9 March 2021.” The crop mosaic commemorates the 101st anniversary of the birth of the late leader, who was born on March 17, 1920.

Failed onion seeds blamed on cool weather: February 2021: Some 600 farmers in Durgapur, Rajshahi have reported germination problems with subsidized seeds they received from the government. According to a local news report, farmers have suffered extreme losses after planting the seeds, which failed to germinate. The Department of Agricultural Extension has reportedly acknowledged the damage, blaming the problem on cool weather. Efforts will be made to compensate affected farmers. According to the Rajshahi Department of Agricultural Extension farmers were distributed 250 grams of seed, which totalled 150 kg of onion seeds for 600 farmers in Durgapur. Problems were reported in different areas including Jhaluka, Debipur, Joynagar and Singa of the Durgapur Upazila. Original report here

Farmer group sues seed potato supplier: 4 February A Group of farmers have filed a lawsuit against a national agriculture supplier regarding adulterated seed potato supply. According to a local media report, farmers have cultivated potatoes on hundreds of acres along the Brahmaputra river in and around Charjamail since since 2005. According to the suit claim, the supply of seed potato has been a mix of varieties, including certified seed instead of base seed, as well as low quality seeds. The poor quality of seed is being cited for failed crops. Original report here

Bangladesh seed potato R&D paying off: January 2021: As Bangladesh increases  seed potatoe research, its dependence on foreign supply decreases. This is according to Minister of Agriculture, Abdur Razzak, quoted in a local media. According to the report, the Minister, speaking to reporters at Domar in Nilphamari on January 27, had previously imported between 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes of seed potato from abroad. Currently it is only importin about 2,000 tonnes.  Following an inspection of plots of the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) at Sonaray Union in Domar Upazila the Minister noted that 300 demonstration plots and multilocation tests are being conducted across the country this year, At present, the capacity of 30 cold storages in 26 zones of the country is 45,500 metric tons. Four more cold storages with a capacity of two thousand metric tons will be constructed. This will increase the seed potato storage capacity of BADC to 53,500 metric tons. The minister said the annual demand for seed potatoes in the country is 650,000 tonnes. Original report here.

Maize and wheat productivity increasing: January 2021: At present Bangladeshi farmers are only ablet to supply about 46% of the country’s annual demand for wheat and maize, with the remaining needing to be imported from abroad. However, with the introduction of new varieties of wheat and maize seeds, the production per hectare has increased. Though new varieties havebeen developed, the production of breeding seeds is still inadequate due to lack of necessary land. Citing figures from the Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute at Nashipur in Dinajpur, Bangladesh’s demand for wheat in the fiscal year 2019-20 was 61.22 million tons. Of which only 1,200 tons was produced domestically. In the same period, the demand for maize was 6,500 lakh tonnes out of which 5,400 tonnes was produced domestically, meaning 1,100 tonnes had to be imported from abroad. At present, wheat is being cultivated on 3.42 million hectares of land in the country, and the average yield is 3.8 tons per hectare. Meanwhile, maize is cultivated on about 554,000, and the average yield is 9.84 tons per hectare.  Read original report here

2025 Self-sufficiency for jute seed: January 2021: The government has has announced a five-year roadmap to achieve self-sufficiency in quality jute seed production, so that Bangladesh would be fully self-sufficient in improved jute seed production by 2025. According to local media report, the plan, which was finalized by the Ministry of Agriculture, will focus on improving productivity by developing local varieties. At present, two varieties of jute are cultivated on about 600,000 to 700,000 hectares of land in the country, which yield about 60 to 75 million bales of jute annually. This requires about 6 to 7 thousand metric tons of jute seeds, and currently 85-90 percent of the seeds are imported from India. Read the original report here

Companies fined for expired seeds: January 2021: Traders were fined between BDT 7,000 to 20,000 ($82 to $236) for keeping expired seeds or pesticides. The fines were issued after authorities from the National Consumer Rights Protection Department in Shayestaganj, Habigan raided local markets, including the Driver's Bazar and Daudnagar Bazar in the upazila on January 13. One trader was fined Tk 7,000 for keeping expired seeds; another was fined Tk 20,000 for keeping expired pesticides. The raids were carried out after farmers had complained about seeds that did not germinate and other crop failures related to expired pesticides. For more details, see original news here.

New Bt cotton trials convene: January 2021:
Bangladesh researchers working through the Cotton Development Board (CDB) have begun field trials for two varieties of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton. The genetic material is reportedly from India’s JK Agri Genetics in Hyderabad. More details here

Doubled soybean price spurs mass production of seed: January 2021:
Laxmipur: Soybean seeds are being cultivated en masse in thousands of acres of land on the huge char (islands) of the Meghna river. The raw soybean seeds are said to be sourced from Ladhipur, and distributed to farmers for multiplication nationwide. The volume of soybean produced in the region is was reported to be more than 10,000 tons and worth  Tk 200 crore ($23.6 million). More than five thousand people without land are involved in the production of this seed soybean and the market price is said to be more than double the usual price. Read more in Bangladeshi here.

2020 News


Inferior subsidy seeds scandal claims: December 2020:
Farmers in the Rajshahi region have charged that subsidized seeds they received from the government were of low quality. Seeds of various crops were distributed in different districts of Rajshahi agricultural region as part of ‘agricultural incentives’, but the seeds failed to yield any crops. Moreover, it was claimed the seeds were distributed after the end of the planting season, which was not ideal  for farmers. The seeds were for onion, maize, tomato, mustard, wheat, khesari, sunflower and almond. Read full story here.
Farmer praises high yielding paddy seeds in Kushtia: December 2020:
A farmer in Kumarkhali of Kushtia district has reported promising results from paddy seeds acquired from the Department of Agriculture and Rice Research Institute (translation). The  exceptional seed could lead to the emergence of more high-yielding varieties through breeding with conventional high-yielding varieties. This was  the third time the farmer cultivated the new seed on his land and he said it is possible to get 4-5 manas more paddy per bigha compared to other high yielding varieties. Read more in Bangladeshi news here.
New oil-seed perilla registered, distributed for nationwide cultivation: December 2020:
Oil extraction from the seed of a new perilla (Perilla frutescens) cultivar developed by Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University has been exhibited and the seeds have been distributed for expansion of cultivation in Bangladesh. The National Seed Board has already registered the new variety, called Sau Perela-1 (Golden Perilla BD). Varieties of this crop can be cultivated all over the country. Read more here.
Vegetable exports decline as freight doubles: December 2020:
Vegetable exports from Bangladesh have declined drastically towards the end of the year. According to Fruit Plaza, citing reports, Bangladeshi exporters of perishable goods had been paying between US$4.0 and $4.5 to move a kilogram of vegetables from Dhaka to London, which was more than twice the pre-pandemic freight price. Read more here.
Reports of low-quality paddy seed circulating in Dinajpur and Begerhat: December 2020:
Seed shops and farmers in Dinajpur have reportedly been flooded with low quality paddy seeds. According to claims in one report from the Hakimpur Upazila in Dinajpur District, germination rates of seeds planted were reported to be as low as 0-25%. The Upazila Agriculture Office said it would investigate the matter to determine if and why germination is so low in the locale, where there are reportedly 19 licensed seed suppliers. According to Bengali media here, the planting target in the locale this coming season is 360 hectares, while 340 hectares had been sown at time of report. Likewise, many farmers in the Bagerhat district reported poor germination of hybrid seed paddy. According to the Bagerhat Department of Agricultural Extension, rice will be cultivated on about 55,000 hectares of land in 9 upazilas this year. Of this, hybrid paddy will be cultivated on 42 hectares. For this, there is a demand of about 600 tons of hybrid and 250 tons of upland rice seeds. Read more details here in local media here, as well as here.
Theft of onion seedlings rampant, as prices soar: December 2020:
Local media reports that the price of onions is among the highest of all produce at the moment -- ranging from 50 to 100 rupees per kg. Hence, onions and onion sprouts are reportedly being stolen from farms in rural areas, prompting farmers to guard their fields at night in groups of two or three. Farmers claim that the price of onion seeds has increased several times this year, and as a result, the price of saplings has also gone up. Many have borrowed and bought seeds to make seedlings. In most seedbeds, the seedlings have grown enough to be planted elsewhere. The news report highlights cases of onion seedlings being stolen from the seedbeds of five farmers in Shivnagar, Tiakata, Sakoa, Naoda and Mohammadpur areas of Naoda. Read news in Bengali here.
Govt distributes flood, Rabi relief seeds in Sirajganj: December 2020:
The government is providing fertilizer and seeds worth more than Tk 101.7 million ($20,000) for 136,700 farmers in 9 upazilas of Sirajganj district as part of relief package and to bolster Rabi (winter) season planting. Farmers’ crops were reportedly damaged from natural calamities, including flooding, which reportedly submerged more than 29,720 hectares of land. The seeds include paddy, wheat, mustard, sunflower, Chinese almond, lentil, khesari, tomato and chilli crops during Rabi season. Short and medium term vegetable seeds will be distributed among 14,400 farmers.More details here.

Demand for seed potatoes on the rise in Rajshahi: December 2020:
Farmers in Rajshahi region have been busy cultivating potatoes lately; according to the Rajshahi Regional Agriculture Extension Department, as reported by the Bangla Tribune here, the area target for potato cultivation in Naogaon, Natore and Chapainawabganj districts of Rajshahi this year was set at 56,006 hectares, while the production target was set at 1.37 million tonnes. At time of press, these targets had been about halfway achieved. According to the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) Rajshahi office, BADC produces 36,000 metric tons of potato seeds across Bangladesh. This year, the government has allocated 1,330 metric tons of potato seeds for Rajshahi.

Relief wheat seeds seized by locals: December 2020:
Some 20 400kg sacks of government-subsidized wheat seeds had reportedly been seized by locales in the Roumari sub-district of Kurigram. The seeds, which were intended to be distributed as part of relief packages for flood-affected farmers, were seized on December 6 by the locals while being transported in a van from the warehouse of the Sub-District Agriculture Office. Some suspect business-oriented politicians have been implicated in an investigation, which is ongoing. Read more details in Bengali here.
Zinc rich paddy seeds distributed: December 2020:
As part of a campaign to increase the production of high yielding zinc-rich rice to meet zinc deficiencies in the local diet, zinc-rich paddy seeds have been distributed to some 25,000 farmers in the Thakurgaon district. These seeds are supplied by a private company, with support from the Department of Agriculture and World Vision Bangladesh.  The seeds are expected to be planted on 5,000 hectares of land. Read more details on the Bangla Tribune here.



Climate-resilient vegetable farming project to benefit 60,000 farmers
East-West Seed in partnership with Solidaridad and Agro Tech have announced plans to provide training in Bangladesh for 25,000 farmers on climate-resilient vegetable farming approaches. The project will be implemented in Barisal and Chittagong divisions of Bangladesh through field-level demonstrations to ensure a sustained income throughout the year. A further 40,000 farmers will benefit through exposure to the field demos. Click here for more details.
Watergates fail, crops destroyed by floods
According to an August 20 report by Urdu Point, flood damages to crops due in Bangladesh had been pegged at about 13.23 billion taka (US$ 156.4 million). Thee report cites Bangladeshi Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque, who said that crops on 158,700 hectares of land in 37 districts had been destroyed fully or partially. The article notes that three different periods of flooding since June had taken place and nearly a million farmers had been affected. According to an August 13 report by Dhaka Tribune, nearly 3,000 hectares of standing crops in five unions of Sharsha Upazila of Jessore District in the Division of Khulna, Bangladesh. have been inundated after a sudden tidal surge in the Ichamati River breached water gates, and overflowed into canals. The surge is blamed on failure of a faulty construction and lack of maintenance of the water gates. The damaged crops, which include paddy, jute and vegetables,  were reported to be in the Putkhali, Goga, Ulashi, Bagamchara and Kaybas unions. According to the article, various crops on 20,131 hectares were planted in the five unions this season. The worst affected is Putkhali Union in Benapole, where 400 hectares of crops were submerged...