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Successes in farming flood tolerant paddies can ensure food security: DG IRRI

by Mamun Islam

RANGPUR, Nov 23 (BSS) -Director general (DG) of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Dr. Robert S Zeigler has said farmers and rice scientists have achieved tremendous successes in farming flood tolerant variety paddies in Bangladesh.

He lauded the ongoing joint collaboration of IRRI with Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) in conducting research and popularizing cultivation of the flood tolerant variety paddies.

During his two-day field-level visits that ended here today,
the DG expressed his full satisfaction and said that the success
in farming flood tolerant variety paddies will definitely ensure
food security of Bangladesh in near future.

Dr Zeigler said this while visiting flood tolerant variety
ripe paddy fields, exchanging views, addressing farmers'
gatherings and the paddy cutting ceremonies in Rangpur and
Kurigram villages.

He put special emphasis on extensive research and suggested
the farmers to make their children educated in agriculture
science for innovating newer technologies fit for the next
centuries to meet food demand of the whole mankind.

Observing tremendous field level successes in farming flood
tolerant paddies, Dr Zeigler hoped that the government of
Bangladesh would soon approve the paddy seeds to make those
easily available to the farmers for large-scale farming.

Programme Leader and Plant Breeder of IRRI Dr. David J
Mackill, Director (Training) Dr. Noel P Magor, IRRI Liaison
Scientist for Bangladesh Dr MA Hamid Mian, Regional Coordinator
of Stress Tolerant Rice for Poor Farmers in Africa & South Asia
(STRASA) programme Dr US Singh, accompanied.

Consultant of STRASA Dr MA Bari, Chief Scientific Officer
(CSO) and Head of Genetic Resource Division of BRRI Dr Khairul
Basher, former CSO and Head of Agronomy Division of BRRI Dr MA
Mazid, Principal Scientific Officer Dr Abdul Jalil Mridha, Head
of Agriculture of RDRS MG Neogi, were present.

The DG visited flood tolerant Swarna Sub1, BR11 Sub1, IR64
Sub1 and Sambamasuri Sub1 variety paddy fields at villages of
Kachir Char, Belgachha and Jatrapur in Kurigram and Darshona in
Rangpur.

He attended crop cutting ceremony in the field of farmer
Manik Mian in Darshona village in Rangpur today where the farmer
got 4.3 tonnes paddy per hectare of flood tolerant Swarna Sub1
variety.

Farmer Jitendra Nath Sarker of Belgachha in Kurigram narrated
to the DG that his Swarna Sub1 variety paddy sustained
submergence stresses for 14 days on 52 decimal lands and for 17
days in another land during recent floods and later grew well to
yield 4.5 tonnes dry paddy per hectare.

Farmer Yakub Ali has cultivated all four submergence entries
of Swarna Sub1, BR11 Sub1, IR64 Sub1 and Sambamasuri Sub1 in his
four acres land in village Kachir Char in Kurigram, already
harvested some of them with excellent yields.

Under the assistances of BRRI and eight NGOs including RDRS,
960 farmers have cultivated the submergence paddies in 64
hectares in Rangpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Nilphamari
and Sirajganj this year though the cultivation began in 2006
involving only 13 farmers in 0.18 hectares land.

Farmers Yasin Ali, Osman Goni, Mosharraf Hossain, Badsha
Mian, Shahinur Islam, Syed Ali, Shahidul, Yakub Ali and
Nuruzzaman told the IRRI DG that they are happy getting paddy
harvests even after 14 to 17 days submergence during recent flash
floods.

When asked by DG of IRRI, the farmers informed him that all
four varieties are good and the IR64 sub I variety can be
harvested within 120 days, which is little earlier than other
varieties and the Swarna sub 1 variety rice is more tasty and
fine in quality.

The farmers told the DG that the other traditional variety
Aman paddy plants were totally damaged after remaining submerged
under flood waters when the submergence four varieties sustained
even after remaining under flood waters for 17 days.

Dr Zeigler said that the huge success was achieved through
joint collaboration, efforts and research of the scientists of
IRRI and BRRI and that he learnt a lot from the successful
farmers at the field levels in Bangladesh.

"We have already achieved success in evolving flood, salinity
and drought tolerant paddies and are continuing research works
for inventing multiple stress tolerant genes which can evolve
newer paddy to sustain saline and flood stresses at a time," he
added.

The BRRI scientists told BSS that large-scale farming of the
paddies in 12 lakh hectares potential flood-prone land can
produce additional six million tonnes paddy annually to make
Bangladesh completely self-reliant in food production and a rice
exporting nation.