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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bangladesh introduce new wheat variety tolerant to the deadly fungus


AN INTERNATIONAL cereal research center has introduced a new wheat variety, which is tolerant to deadly Ug99 fungus to Bangladesh, a traditional rice growing region.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, or Cimmyt, said it introduced a wheat variety in Bangladesh in March, which is tolerant to the Ug99 strain of stem-rust fungus.

The new wheat variety, named Francolin, has “good” resistance to all varieties of Ug99 as well as yields that are about 10 percent higher than the most commonly grown wheat variety in Bangladesh, wrote El Batan, the Mexico-based Cimmyt uploaded in an online report on March 23.

This step toward mitigating the threat of Ug99 was made possible in part by a USAID seed-multiplication famine fund program. The WRC and CIMMYT-Bangladesh are working together under this program to identify suitable Ug99-resistant varieties, and carry out seed production and delivery.

Agronomists and soil scientists from state Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) and CIMMYT-Bangladesh were also involved in its validation and promotional activities.

“The danger posed by the Ug99 strain of the disease stem rust to global wheat production is well recognized, and Bangladesh is no exception,” Cimmyt wrote.

Cimmyt said it’s working with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute on the new wheat variety. The introduction of Francolin was helped in part by a USAID seed-multiplication program, according to the research center.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow in journalism, is a Bangladesh based award winning investigative reporter. He is student of Islamic militancy, forced migration, good governance, press freedom and elective democracy. He was twice detained and tortured. Once in 1982 and second in 2002. Later he was expelled in 2004 from Bangladesh for whistle-blowing of the arrival of Jihadists from international terror network. He recently returned home from Canada. His email:

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