Experts at a training course in Rangpur stressed the need for large-scale cultivation and optimum consumption of zinc-enriched rice to increase disease resistant capacity by preventing deficiency of zinc, iron and vitamin-A.
They expressed the view at the farmers' training course organised by RDRS Bangladesh, an NGO, on "Zinc Rice Varieties and Benefit of Zinc" at its Training Centre on Tuesday to expand cultivation of zinc-enriched BRRI dhan74 rice.
The RDRS has been disseminating the technologies for farming, seed production, processing and storing of high zinc-enriched rice varieties in northern Bangladesh as a local implementing partner of The HarvestPlus Challenge Programme. The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture and International Food Policy Research Institute are coordinating technology dissemination to increase expertise of farmers for cultivation and ensuring quality seed production, processing and storing of high zinc rice.
Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension SM Ashraf Ali attended the course as chief guest with Agriculture and Environment Coordinator of RDRS Bangladesh Mamunur Rashid in the chair.
Mithapukur Upazila Agriculture Officer Khorshed Alam, Sub-assistant Agriculture Officer Tahmidur Rahman, Agricultural Research and Development Officer of HarvestPlus Bangladesh Ruhul Amin Mandal, attended as special guests.
Twenty-five male and female farmers of Chengmari union under Mithapukur upazila participated in the training course to acquire knowledge on BRRI dhan74 cultivation technologies, agronomical managements and benefits.
In his welcome speech, Mamunur Rashid discussed on cultivation technologies, importance of enhancing cultivation, benefits and necessity for optimum consumption of zinc-enriched rice for meeting nutritional demand of common people.
"Optimum consumption of zinc-enriched rice is crucial for increasing disease resistant capacity, normal growth and flourishing talents of children, reducing risks of diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia, maternal and neonatal deaths," he said.
Khorshed Alam called upon the farmers for enhancing cultivation and optimum consumption of the zinc-enriched BRRI dhan74 that yields 7 to 8 tonnes of paddy per hectare in 145-150 days from seed to seed.
"Each kilogram of BRRI dhan74 rice contains 24.2 milligram zinc," he said and suggested for consumption of the rice to overcome deficiency of micro-nutrients like zinc, iron and vitamin-A by the poorer section of people.
The chief guest called upon the farmers for expanded cultivation of zinc-enriched rice for supplementation of zinc deficiency of the children and pregnant women side by side with increasing rice production to attain national food security.