Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury today said the government is pro-active to adopt the biotechnological innovations for introducing improved and high-yielding verities of crops to the farmers.
"We have collaborated with many international institutions to deliver the benefits of biotechnology to farmers and consumers in the country," he told a seminar at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) here.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), the BARC and the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Application (ISAAA) jointly organized the seminar on "20th anniversary of the global commercialization of biotech crops and biotech crop highlights in 2015."
Executive Chairman of BARC Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Director General of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Dr Md Rafiqul Islam Mondal and Global Coordinator of ISAAA Randy A. Hautea, among others, addressed the seminar with Agriculture Secretary Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah in the chair.
Matia said the overall impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security are expected to be increasingly negative, especially in areas already vulnerable to climate-related disasters and food insecurity. Biotech applications can improve plant's tolerance to a biotic stresses, she added.
Matia said, "Agriculture biotechnology is being used to address problems in all areas of agriculture production and processing. This includes plat breeding to raise and stabilize yields, improve resistance to pests, diseases and a biotic stresses such as drought and cold and enhance the nutritional content of foods."
The commercial approval of Bt brinjal is a step in right direction, she said adding, "First 20 farmers who received Bt brinjal seedlings from BARI have successfully raised the crop. They realized the significance of Brinjal shoot and fruit borer resistant Bt technology that helped them reduce chemical sprays and combat the infestation of a major insect pest of brinjal."
Matia said, "Beta-carotene rice "golden rice' is at the end stage of regulatory trial. Submergence and salinity tolerant rice varieties developed through marker-assisted breeding have been released for cultivation."
Research is underway for developing virus resistant transgenic tomato varieties and salinity tolerant wheat varieties through molecular marker assisted breeding, she added.
Dr Rafiqul said, "Farmers successfully harvested fresh and blemish free brinjal. Last year, about 110 farmers in 19 districts successfully cultivated Bt brinjal and they got a very good harvest and profit as they did not insecticides to control BSFB".
BARI produced a large quantity of Bt brinjal seeds and this year more than 300 farmers throughout the country are growing Bt brinjal, he added.