HarvestPlus and partners are improving the health of Bangladeshi women and children in Bangladesh with zinc deficiency through the introduction of biofortified zinc rice varieties for production and consumption by smallholder farm households. With the help of partners, HarvestPlus Bangladesh program aims to further develop and widely disseminate high-yielding, comparatively disease and pest tolerant through biofortified rice varieties which will provide more than 80% of daily zinc needs to target communities.
Under the support of HarvestPlus, five zinc biofortified rice varieties (T.Aman season: BRRI dhan62, BRRI dhan72; Boro season: BRRI dhan64, BRRI dhan74) have been nationally released in Bangladesh with high yield and beneficial agronomic traits desired by farmers. Out of which, four inbred zinc rice varieties were released by BRRI and one hybrid zinc enriched variety by BSMRAU (BU Aromatic Hybrid rice).
Till FY 2016, HarvestPlus has reached around 498,400 farm households providing approximately 908 tons free seed in more than 350 upazilas spreading across 62 districts. HarvestPlus works with government organizations, NGOs, and seed multiplier associations. Seed multiplying partners are being trained on zinc rice seed production and preservation.
HarvestPlus is currently expanding its partnerships to reach more smallholder farmers and consumers in Bangladesh. A comprehensive effort in public private partnership involving seed producers (public institution and private companies), crop growers (farmer community), rice traders and millers boosted the zinc rice adoption in a quickest possible time. In the next five years, HarvestPlus targets to mainstream biofortification in agricultural research, extension and involve private sector actors for a sustainable value chain establishment for all biofortified crops.