In 2004, HarvestPlus started its journey in Bangladesh to address hidden hunger through biofortification of rice, a staple crop, in collaboration with the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). In 2013, BRRI succeeded in developing and releasing the first-ever biofortified zinc rice variety in the world, BRRI dhan62, through HarvestPlus support. 


Wahidul Amin

c/o. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). 102, Park Road, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212


HarvestPlus works with public sector, private sector, and nongovernmental partners to multiply and distribute seed, educate farmers on the benefits of biofortified crops (zinc rice, zinc wheat, iron/zinc lentil), and promote wider adoption and consumption of the crops through public awareness campaigns. It also provides training and technical support to partners, including the government’s crop breeding and agricultural extension programs. 

Zinc-containing rice… is a cost-effective and sustainable approach which low-income people can afford for easy access to micronutrients through staple food.” Dr. M.A. Hamid Miah Recipient of the “Independence Award 2013” and Fellow of the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences

Biofortified Crops in Bangladesh*

Zinc Rice

Year of First Release:
Number of Varieties Released
to Date: 10

Zinc Wheat

Year of First Release:
Number of Varieties Released
to Date: 1

Iron Lentil

Year of First Release:
Number of Varieties Released
to Date: 5

*Includes varieties shown to meet HarvestPlus standards. Other varieties may be available in the country.

Varieties Released Database

This searchable database provides information on all biofortified crops variety releases by country.

Areas of Expertise

  1. Crop Development
  2. Seed Multiplication
  3. Seed and Grain Distribution
  4. Consumer Engagement
  5. Market Development
  6. Policy Engagement

Crop Development

HarvestPlus started its crop development program in Bangladesh with Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in 2004. Through support of the HarvestPlus Bangladesh program, Bangladesh has released nine zinc rice varieties so far.

Seed Multiplication

The released biofortified zinc rice varieties are licensed to Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) and private seed companies to multiply seeds for farmers.

Seed and Grain Distribution

HarvestPlus connects buyers and processors to farmers. Commercial seed is distributed through agro-dealers, government agricultural input support schemes, and NGOs.

Consumer Engagement

HarvestPlus increases awareness of biofortified crops through consumer education, training, farmers’ field days, courtyard meetings, and school sensitization programs.

Market Development

HarvestPlus supports the commercial processing of biofortified crops into popularly consumed products, thus providing an output market and income for farmers from their surplus and allowing non-farming consumers to benefit from the nutritional value of biofortified produce.

Policy Engagement

The National Agricultural Policy 2018, Bangladesh 8th Five Year Plan, 2020-2025, National Strategy on Prevention of Micronutrient Deficiency Bangladesh 2015-2024 and Second Country Investment Plan, Second National Plan of Action for Nutrition 2016-2025 are a few policies that include provisions on biofortification that were advocated by HarvestPlus Bangladesh.

zinc rice in Bangladesh
Featured Project

Bangladesh Initiative to Enhance Nutrition Security and Governance (BIeNGS) Project (2018-2022)

Project Focus: To improve children and mothers’ nutrition status in vulnerable districts by promoting a multi-sector, pro-poor governance model.
Funder: European Union.
Implementing Partners: IFPRI-HarvestPlus, World Vision Bangladesh, Unnayan Sangha (US), and Institute of Development Studies (IDS).
HarvestPlus Role: Facilitating the uptake of biofortified rice, wheat, and lentil seed through subsidies and engagement initiatives in the districts.

Focus Crops: zinc rice, zinc wheat, and iron/zinc lentil, zinc wheat, and iron/zinc lentil

Biofortification news in Bangladesh

Bangladesh Govt. Supports Farmers to Ensure Food Supply During COVID-19

Muhammad Abdul Razzak, a farmer living in Uthmerchar, a village in the Jamalpur district of Bangladesh, was worried about his crops. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bangladeshi government imposed a nationwide lockdown and instructed everyone to stay at home to curtail the spread of the virus.  Having worked hard on producing zinc-biofortified rice on […]

Bangladesh Welcomes Newest Zinc Rice Variety: BRRI dhan100

The Bangladesh National Seed Board has approved the release of the newest biofortified zinc rice variety in the country: the BRRI dhan100. This latest zinc rice variety was developed by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI). HarvestPlus assists BRRI in crop development and breeder seed production of biofortified zinc rice.  According to the Director General of BRRI, […]

A Journalist Champions Uptake of Zinc Rice for the Health of Bangladeshis

Rezaul Karim Siddique is a journalist who has devoted the past 37 years to promoting agricultural development in Bangladesh. As an anchor of “Mati-O-Manus”—the flagship agricultural program of Bangladesh television (BTV)–since 1983, he is a well-respected influencer in the realm of agriculture. He is also a columnist, anchors a live show, “Shaymol Bangla,” on agricultural issues […]

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HarvestPlus Partners

We have more than 30 partners in the public, private, NGO, and policy engagement sectors who share our mission to improve nutrition and lives of people in Bangladesh.

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Bangladesh Brochure

An overview of HarvestPlus activity in Bangladesh.

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