PANCHAGARH, Oct 9: Enhanced cultivation and optimum consumption of zinc-enriched rice can ensure food and nutrition security preventing deficiency of zinc, iron and vitamin-A of children for normal growth with disease-resistant capacity.
Experts opined this at a farmers' field day organised by RDRS Bangladesh, an NGO, for harvesting zinc-enriched BRRI Dhan 62 on a demonstration plot of farmer Narayan Chandra in village Chameswari under Atoari upazila of Panchagarh on Thursday afternoon.
The NGO has been expanding farming technology, seed production, processing and storing of the high zinc-enriched BRRI-62 at 1,100 exhibition plots in five districts of Rangpur division under the Harvest Plus Challenge Programme.
The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) have been coordinating the technology dissemination process for ensuring seed production, processing and storing of the high zinc rice.
Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) for Panchagarh SM Ashraf Ali attended the field day and inaugurated harvest of zinc-enriched BRRI-62 as the chief guest.
Programme Manager (Filed Coordination) of RDRS Bangladesh for Panchagarh Hasina Pervin presided over the function participated by 345 male and female farmers with the local community leaders and public representatives.
Panchagarh Sadar Upazila Agriculture Officer Abdul Matin, Atoari Upazila Agriculture Officer Shamim Iqbal, Agriculture Officer of RDRS Bangladesh for Panchagarh Feroz Bulbul, its Technical Officer (Agriculture) Nazmul Arefin addressed the function as special guests.
Assistant Coordinator (Agriculture) of RDRS Bangladesh Syeda Nuhera Begum delivered keynote speech, saying that the NGO has been expanding cultivation of zinc-enriched rice with assistance of HarvestPlus Bangladesh since 2013.
She said the NGO has assisted 1,100 farmers of five districts under
Rangpur division in cultivating zinc-enriched rice.
Over 40 per cent children of under-5 age group are malnourished and stunted while 44 per cent children of the same age group are remaining at risk of zinc deficiency and 60 per cent women suffering from malnutrition in Bangladesh, she said.
She maintained that most of the people in Bangladesh depend on the rice for meeting majority of their vitamin and mineral requirements, but general rice does not contain enough micronutrients required for leading healthy productive life.
The chief guest said cultivation of short duration BRRI-62 in 90 to 100 days also enhances crop intensification to further increases rice production for ensuring food security under adverse climate change impacts.