Firms in race to offer rice seeds for early harvest | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, December 12, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, December 12, 2009

Firms in race to offer rice seeds for early harvest


Seed firms have sped up efforts to bring in new rice varieties for early harvest to give farmers scope to grow more crops.
Market players believe such seeds would also help farmers minimise the risks of crop damage from floods and harvest 30 days earlier than in the case of other varieties.
Supreme Seed Company, BRAC, ACI and Lal Teer Seed have introduced the new rice seeds, mainly hybrid, on trial.
BRAC, a nongovernmental organisation, is working on a Vietnamese high-yielding variety, an open pollinated rice seed. Others focus on hybrids.
BRAC's early high-yielding variety, known as OM 1490, has potential of yielding up to five tonnes per hectare and can be harvested in 100 days after farming in Aus season, said Sudhir Chandra Nath, programme manager of BRAC's Agro-Marketing Division.
“We have planted the seed in farmers' fields on trial,” Sudhir told The Daily Star.
BRAC plans to hand the seed to the Seed Certification Agency to get approval for marketing.
"If the government approves the seed, farmers will be able to preserve it without depending too much on the market," he said.
“We expect to start marketing of the seed by 2012 after receiving permission from the government,” he added.
The initiative comes amid expectations of farmers to grow more crops -- not only to cash in more gains but to minimise the risks of crop losses in natural disasters.
Two government agencies have released two HYVs for Aman season: BRRI Dhan-33 and BINA Dhan-7 that can be harvested at least a month earlier than the other HYV BR11.
“We plan to market the seeds in flood-prone areas in Boro season,” said Mohammed Masum, chairman of Supreme Seed Company, market leader in hybrid rice seeds.
The company will send the hybrid seeds to the government next year for approval.
A problem remains. The yield of these seeds might be lower than the existing peers.
Masum said: "Even if the yield is low, farmers may accept our seeds to avoid crop losses in Boro season."
Mahbub Anam, managing director of Lal Teer Seed, said early-rice seeds would back up the government initiative to ensure food security.
Mahbub said the government should examine the performance of the short-duration hybrid seeds against a short duration HYV, not against the BR28 that matures in over 140 days.
Anwar Faruque, director general of Seed Wing of the agriculture ministry, said the government would approve well-performing short-duration hybrid rice seeds.
“We want maximum yield in short-duration. If we can grow three crops a year in the same land, it will help increase crop intensity and attain food security," he said.
'We will ease the approval procedure for the companies that introduce short-term seeds."
sohel@thedailystar.net

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