Zinc-enriched rice enhances immunity against corona: Experts

4 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

THAKURGAON: Experts at a function on Thursday stressed on consumption of bio-fortified zinc rice to enhance immunity against Covid-19 and free  people from malnutrition.

They viewed this at the function organised by HarvestPlus Bangladesh and World Vision Bangladesh (WVB) with assistance of the Department of Agricultural Extension at Pirganj upazila parishad premises in the district.

The event was arranged for distribution of zinc-enriched rice seeds among farmers with Global Affairs Canada funding under Enhancing Nutrition Services to Improve Maternal and Child Health (ENRICH) project, reports BSS.

HarvestPlus improves nutrition and public health by developing and promoting bio-fortified food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals and providing global leadership on bio-fortification evidence and technology.

HarvestPlus is a part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Programme on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health based at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) at Washington DC.

Member of the Parliament from Thakurgaon-3 constituency Md Zahidur Rahman attended the function and distributed BRRI dhan74 and BRRI dhan84 varieties of zinc-enriched rice seeds among farmers as chief guest.

Presided over by Pirganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer Rezaul Karim, 100 farmers of the upazila attended the function. Pirganj Upazila Agriculture Officer Agriculturalist SM Golam Sarwar and Project Officer of WVB Marufa Khatun spoke.

In his welcome speech, Officer-Agriculture Research and Development of HarvestPlus Bangladesh for Rangpur zone Agriculturist Ruhul Amin Mondol said 4,700 farmers of Pirganj upazila will receive 5 kg of zinc enriched rice seeds each.

Some 25,000 farmers of all five upazilas in Thakurgaon will receive 125 tonnes of zinc-enriched BRRI dhan74 and BRRI dhan84 rice seeds for cultivation on 5,000 hectares of land to produce 25,000 tonnes of zinc-enriched rice during this Boro season.

Agriculturalist Sarwar said zinc deficiency hinders physical and mental growth of children, cusses apathy to meal intake, skin disease, disease infestation, memory-loss, diarrhea and pneumonia.

“Intake of zinc-enriched rice reduces infertility and increases immunity in the human body,” he said.

The chief guest lauded HarvestPlus for promoting nutrition and public health through disseminating micro-nutrient-rich bio-fortified food crops in Bangladesh and providing global leadership to the expansion of bio-fortification technologies. He called for expanding cultivation, production and consumption of bio-fortified zinc rice to meet nutrition and enhance immunity of the population against COVID-19 infection.