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.

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

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DECEMBER 2020
 
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 Dailyindustry.news 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.

 

AUGUST 2020

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...