HarvestPlus has been working with the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to develop zinc rice. Recently, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU) joined HarvestPlus in zinc rice development. Rice is the primary staple food in Bangladesh.
To date, four open pollinated zinc rice varieties have been released by BRRI and are already available to farmers to plant during either the Aman or Boro seasons. A newly released hybrid zinc rice variety, BU Aromatic Zinc Rice, developed by BSMRAU will be disseminated in Aman, 2017. We work with public, private sector, and non-governmental partners to multiply and distribute seed, educate farmers on the benefits of zinc rice, and promote wider adoption and consumption of the crop through public awareness campaigns. We also provide training and technical support to our partners, including the government’s crop breeding and agricultural extension programs.
Summary of released varieties
"I am cultivating zinc rice because it has extra zinc, which actually helps in a child’s development."— Fazlur Rahman, Farmer from Sunamganj District
Bangladesh ranks number 2 out of 90 countries suitable for investing in zinc rice.
Nutritional Benefits: Provides up to 60% of daily zinc needs
Farmer Benefits: High yielding, wider adaptability, short duration
Varieties: BRRI dhan62, BRRI dhan72 for Aman (monsoon) season; BRRI dhan64 for Boro (dry) season
- Zinc deficiency causes stunting, lowers immunity, and increases risk of diarrheal disease and respiratory infections.
- 41% of children under 5 in Bangladesh do not get enough zinc in their diet.
- Annually, Bangladesh loses over US$700 million in GDP to mineral and vitamin deficiencies (World Bank).