Experts at a meeting on Sunday stressed on increasing production of zinc rice seeds and its smooth marketing to enhance cultivation, production and consumption of zinc rice for improving nutritional status of people. They viewed this at the "Zinc Rice Seed Value Chain Actor's Meeting'' organised by RDRS Bangladesh at its Training Centre in Rangpur city with assistance of HarvestPlus Bangladesh.
Forty participants including farmers' leaders, seed dealers, seed company representatives, seed entrepreneurs, journalists and officials and experts of RDRS Bangladesh and HarvestPlus Bangladesh took part at the event. The meeting was arranged under the Commercialisation of Bio-fortified Crops (CBC) Project of HarvestPlus Bangladesh being implemented by RDRS Bangladesh in Rangpur division.
Deputy Director (Marketing) of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation Agriculturist Md. Asaduzzaman Khan attended the event as the chief guest. Additional Deputy Director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Md Shaminur Rahman, Senior Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) at its Rangpur regional station Dr. Md Masud Rana, Program Head of the CBC project of HarvestPlus Bangladesh Mr. Ravinder Grover and its Project Coordinator Syed Md. Abu Hanifa were present as special guests.
Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh Mamunur Rashid delivered a welcome speech narrating the importance of increasing zinc rice seed production to meet its growing demand among farmers.
"RDRS Bangladesh is supplying high quality seeds of zinc rice to farmers through rice seed dealers and retailers across Rangpur division," he said. Project Officer of the CBC project of HarvestPlus Bangladesh Md. Ruhul Quddus presented a keynote essay narrating the role of zinc in the human body and zinc rice consumption to combat zinc deficiency. "Zinc deficiency hinders physical and mental growth of children, causes infertility, baldness, maternal problems, disease infestation, diarrhea and pneumonia and other complications," he said.
He stressed on commercialisation of bio-fortified zinc rice to ensure its regular consumption by people to enhance their disease resistant capacity for overcoming malnutrition-related complications. The speakers said demand for zinc rice seeds has increased over the last two years due to intensive extension works conducted by RDRS Bangladesh with the DAE's support in Rangpur region.
They suggested farmers expand cultivation of the BRRI dhan74 variety of zinc rice having high yielding nature and also capacity to perform better in late Boro rice farming season. The chief guest called for adopting latest technologies to produce and preserve zinc rice seeds and ensuring smooth marketing to enhance production and popularise consumption of zinc rice among people to improve nutritional status.