Wednesday, 6 July, 2022

Promoting blast-resistant wheat variety to boost production underscored

RAJSHAHI: Successful promotion of blast-resistant wheat varieties has become indispensable to boost production of the cereal crop to feed the gradually rising population in the country.

Wheat cultivation and production will increase manifold in the region, including its vast barind tract, with the introduction of blast disease-resistant varieties of wheat.

Agricultural scientists and researchers made the observation while addressing a workshop titled “Causes of Wheat Blast Disease and its Mitigation” here Wednesday. Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute (BWMRI) hosted the workshop at its Rajshahi Regional office conference hall.

Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Komolaranjan Das and Additional Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension Shamsul Wadud addressed the workshop as chief and special guests respectively, while BWMRI Director Dr Golam Faruque was in the chair, reports BSS.

The blast tolerant varieties created hope among the farmers across the country. The wheat blast disease first came into the country in 2016 as a new worry. It took the scientists around seven years to develop these two new varieties. He said the newly high yielding varieties named Gom-2 and Gom-3, also tolerable of heat weather and leaf blind, can be produced all over Bangladesh, including the Barind tract.

Under the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Seed Board has approved the marketing of these two new varieties on September 8, 2020. Dr Hossain also said BWMRI developed some wheat varieties that had been very popular among the farmers for a long time.

These were Kanchan, Shatabdi, Prodip and BARI Gom-26. But eventually, some of the earlier varieties have already been degenerated and became susceptible to various diseases. Now it is time to replace those old with new ones, said the scientist. Komolaranjan Das said that the government has a plan to increase the wheat area to ensure food security in parallel with rice production.

Newly released Gom-3 is enough to extend the area in the region. It needed more land and seed storage facilities to produce a sufficient amount of Breeder Seed of wheat, especially for new wheat varieties. Wheat is the second most important cereal crop in Bangladesh. He mentioned that wheat demand is increasing every year in the country. The annual demand for wheat in the country is around 7.00 million tonnes. Around 1,250 lakh tonnes of wheat is produced in Bangladesh while the rest needs to be imported to meet the demand. Bangladesh is the fifth most wheat importer in the world. The newly released varieties are not only early maturing and heat tolerant but also resistant to leaf blight and leaf rust diseases, said the chief guest.