Experts for enhancing zinc-enriched rice cultivation

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Agriculture experts at a farmers’ field day in Rangpur have called for enhancing cultivation of zinc-enriched rice and ensuring its optimal consumption to meet nutritional demand of the common people.

They came up with the call at the event organised by RDRS Bangladesh, an NGO, in village Jagadishpur under Ekorchali union of Taraganj upazila to demonstrate the cultivation of zinc-enriched BRRI dhan74 rice and harvest of the crop on Thursday afternoon.

The NGO has been providing cultivation based technology and assisting the farmers in farming high zinc-enriched rice varieties during the Boro and Aman seasons with assistance of HarvestPlus Bangladesh under HarvestPlus Challenge Programme since 2013.

Under the programme, 550 farmers have set up 550 exhibition plots with one bigha of land each for demonstrating farming technology of zinc-enriched BRRI dhan74 in Rangpur, Nilphamari, Dinajpur and Panchagarh districts during this Boro season.

Taraganj Upazila Officer of the Department of Agriculture (DAE) Rezaul Karim attended the ceremony as the chief guest with leader of Ekorchali Union Federation Saidar Rahman in the chair.

Regional Farm Broadcasting Officer of Agriculture Information Service Abu Sayem, Sub-assistant Agriculture Officer Altaf Hossain and Agriculture Officers of RDRS Bangladesh Shamim Ahmed and Nuruzzaman Rony attended as special guests.

Assistant Coordinator (Agriculture) of RDRS Bangladesh Mahbubul Alam also spoke at the event.

The chief guest called for more cultivation of BRRI dhan74 to meet zinc deficiency of the poor, children and pregnant women.

Mahbubul Alam narrated the importance of enhancing cultivation and consumption of zinc-enriched BRRI dhan74 rice for meeting nutritional demand of the people.

“Each kilogram of BRRI dhan74 rice contains 24.2 milligram zinc, 8.3 per cent protein and one person needs 16 gram of zinc daily,” he said.

BRRI dhan74 is a high yielding rice variety and the farmers get per hectare average yield rate up to 7.1 tonnes (about 24 mounds) of paddy in 147 days, he also said.

“Consumption of BRRI dhan74 rice can meet 60 per cent nutrition deficiency of the common people in Bangladesh where 57 per cent people, including women and children, have 40 per cent zinc deficiency,” he added.

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