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.
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.