Seed Board approves new varieties of rice, wheat, potato and kenaf
The National Seed Board has approved a range of rice, wheat, potato and kenaf varieties with promises of higher productivity, and better resistance to disease and stress.
The new crop varieties that got regulatory approval for commercial release include a hybrid rice variety developed by a private seed company, two disease-resistant wheat varieties, four potato varieties developed by Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and a kenaf variety developed by Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI).
The meeting took place at the ministry yesterday with the agriculture secretary in the chair, said Md Azim Uddin, chief seed technologist of the ministry.
NSB gave approval to Supreme Seed Company's hybrid rice variety Heera-19, as it was found to be at least 20 percent more productive, compared to BRRI dhan-28, one of Bangladesh's top-performing high-yielding rice varieties (HYV).
Two wheat varieties that got a nod are BARI Gom-31 and BARI Gom-32, both of which have a yield advantage over some of BARI's earlier wheat varieties and have better resistance against rust. These can also withstand heat better compared to the existing ones.
“Though the new wheat varieties have been in breeding phases long before the recent outbreak of wheat blast, we observed that these two appear to be less susceptive to blast as well,” BARI Director General Dr Abul Kalam Azad told The Daily Star.
Of the four new potato varieties released -- BARI Potato-74, 75, 76, and 77 -- the former two are table potatoes (that need to be cooked before being consumed), while the latter two are good for industrially-processed food items.
BARI Potato-74 is highly productive with a yield potential of up to 46 tonnes a hectare, according to Azad.
Chief Seed Technologist Md Azim Uddin said the natural fibre plant kenaf variety -- BJRI Kenaf-4 -- is the first of its kind released in the country. It is red in colour, grows faster and can withstand submergence, he added.
Kenaf is one of the allied fibres of jute and shows similar characteristics. The main uses of kenaf fibre have been in rope, twine, coarse cloth and paper. It is also used in engineered wood, insulation, animal bedding, packing material, and materials that absorb oil and liquids.