Zinc-enriched paddy variety gaining popularity in Rajshahi

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RAJSHAHI, Sept 24, 2019 (BSS) – BRRI dhan-62, a zinc-enriched paddy
variety, has started gaining popularity among farmers in the region including
its vast Barind tract during the last couple of years.

The newly innovated paddy variety has opened up a door of enormous
prospects of mitigating zinc and protein deficiency besides fighting diarrhea
and pneumonia-induced childhood deaths and stunting.

Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) released the variety for all over
the country after a latest breakthrough in research in the field. It’s a
short-duration high-yielding variety of rice which could be cultivated in
Aman season.

The BRRI breeders developed the hi-zinc rice with support from Harvest
Plus, which is a global bio-fortification mission.

Dr Aminul Islam, Chief Scientific Officer of BRRI here told BSS that the
BRRI 62 has been the most-discussed rice variety as it is a zinc-fortified
breed and has been developed to meet the necessary requirement of
micronutrient for a human body coupled with ensuring food security.

He mentioned that the variety has been developed by genetically crossing
with local variety but it’s not genetically modified rice.

Each kilogram of rice of BRRI dhan-62 contained 19 mg of zinc and 9 percent
of protein which will ensure high nutrition and will play a significant role
in prevention of diseases. Zinc also played a vital role in prevention of
liver-related diseases.

Narrating the salient features of the newly developed variety, Dr Islam
said zinc, iron and vitamin-A are the three most vital micronutrients,
deficiency of which hampers children’s natural growth and decrease their
disease prevention capacity.

In Bangladesh, over 40 percent children under five are stunted while an
estimated 44 percent children of the same age group are at risk of zinc
deficiency.

The variety is the world’s first-ever rice class developed in a bio-
fortified system through breeding between local rice variety Zira Katari and
BRRI dhan 39.

Various government and non-government development organizations including
BRRI and Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) are supplementing the
field level promotional activities in the region during the current
transplanted Aman season.

Deb Dulal Dhali, Additional Director of DAE, said the variety is a short
duration rice variety which can be harvested 100 days after plantation and
this variety may give yield up to 4.5 to 6 tonnes per hectare if nurtured
properly.

It is expected that consumption of the rice enriched with zinc will highly
remove malnutrition. Particularly, this rice will help protect child health,
he said.

Demonstration plots were set up and field day-cum-farmers gatherings were
arranged in various locations to disseminate aspects of the variety among the
farmers.

By virtue of early harvesting characteristics the variety is very much
helpful to cultivate various Rabi crops like tomato, brinjal, mustard and
vegetables for additional income before going to Boro farming, said Jaidur
Rahman, a farmer of Darusha village under Paba Upazila.

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