Bangladesh Rice Research Institute
Bangladesh Rice Research institute is one of the demand driven research centers of Bangladesh. It was established in 1 October 1970 named East Pakistan Rice Research Institute (EPRRI) at Gazipur and renamed as Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) after the independence of Bangladesh. The mission of the institute is the development and dissemination of high yielding rice varieties along with appropriate rice production technologies to the farmers' level so that food security is ensured, which has led to the vision to development of rice varieties and associated technologies suited to favorable and unfavorable environments and to produce breeder seed which eventually, produce more rice ensuring desired quality at lower cost. Its research planning is done in such a way that biodiversity is conserved, insect-pests and diseases are skillfully managed as well as water and land resources are best used for the present and future generation. Moreover, it aims to improve institutional capacity for advance research to develop new innovations for the reduction of poverty and hunger in Bangladesh.
The Director General (DG) is the head of the organisation. In addition to the headquarters and central station at Joydebpur, the institute is supported by nine regional stations at Barisal, Bhanga, Satkhira, Kushtia, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Habiganj, Comilla and Sonagazi. There are 19 research divisions to take care of different disciplines: Plant Breeding, Hybrid Rice,Genetic Resources and Seed, Biotechnology, Grain Quality and Nutrition, Agronomy, Soil Science, Irrigation and Water Management, Plant Physiology, Entomology, Plant Pathology, Rice Farming Systems, Agricultural Statistics, Agricultural Economics, Farm Management, Farm Machinery and Post Harvest Technology, Workshop Machinery and Maintenance, and Adaptive Research and Training. Research activities are operated under seven programme areas which include varietal development, crop-soil-water management, pest management, rice-based farming systems, farm mechanization, socioeconomics and policy, and technology transfer. The overall management of the institute is vested on a 13-member Board of Management chaired by the Director General. The DG is assisted by two directors, one is for research and the other for administration and finance.
The major achievements of BRRI has been the development of 72 high yielding modern variety (MV) along with four hybrid rice variety strains adaptable to different ecosystems since its establishment. Thirteen of these MV rices are suitable for cultivation in both the Boro and Aush seasons, seven in the Boro season and five in the Aus season, and twelve in the transplanted Aman (T Aman) season. With appropriate management, and under favourable soil conditions, these MV rices may yield 5–6 m tons/ha in the Boro, 3–4 m tons/ha in the Aus, and 4–5 m tons/ha in the T Aman seasons.
The institute has been fairly successful in achieving its mission and vision of providing more rice for the nation over the last four decades. It has become the centre of excellence for developing improved rice varieties and relevant technologies to boost up rice production and self reliance of food.This has been possible through developing modern high yielding varieties having 2-3 times more yield potential than the traditional varieties along with more than one hundred associated technologies for rice production. The innovations are not limited within Bangladesh; some of the BRRI developed varieties are also being extensively cultivated in some other countries of the world such as India, Nepal, Myanmar (Burma), Vietnam, Burundi, Bhutan, Iraq, China, Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Benin.
During the last four decades, rice production has more than tripled synchronizing with the increase of population. In 1970, population of our country was 71.21 million that has increased to about 160 million over four decades and clean rice production has increased up to three and half times. In 1970, total rice was 10.31 million ha area and clean rice production at that time was about 10 million ton (MT). In 2012-13, total rice area in three seasons reached to about 12 million ha, mainly due to increased cropping intensity, and clean rice production increased to about 35 MT. At present, BRRI varieties cover more than 80% of rice area and account for about 91% of the total annual rice production of the country.
Climate change in Bangladesh is an extremely crucial issue and according to National Geographic, Bangladesh ranks first as the nation most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in the coming decades. With a larger population facing losses in arable lands, climate change poses new threat to the people of Bangladesh.To concentrate on these problems, BRRI has given successful efforts to develop modern varieties for stress prone ecosystem like salinity, submergence, cold and drought. They have developed cold tolerant BRRI dhan36, salinity tolerant BRRI dhan47, submergence tolerant BRRI dhan51 and BRRI dhan52 varieties. Recently plant breeders have developed and released two varieties viz. BRRI dhan56 and BRRI dhan57 which are suitable for drought-prone areas of Bangladesh. These improved varieties are showing substantial, positive impacts in the lives of poor farmers.
Zinc, iron and vitamin-A are the three most vital micronutrients, deficiency of which hampers children’s natural growth and decrease their disease prevention capability. In Bangladesh, over 40 percent children under five are stunted while an estimated 44 percent children of the same age group are at risk of zinc deficiency. BRRI has released the world’s first zinc-enriched rice variety BRRI dhan62, capable of fighting diarrhoea and pneumonia-induced childhood deaths and stunting. Moreover, Bangladesh also contributed from the forefront in shaping up the still under-trial world's first vitamin A enriched rice, popularly known as Golden Rice. Research is being done both at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and at BRRI for developing Golden Rice, which is expected to fight against vitamin A deficiency in expectant mothers and children through the most-consumed food item. The deficiency causes blindness and child death in acute cases. The country's most productive rice variety -- BRRI dhan 29 – has been fortified with beta carotene genes from corn which is being tested in Bangladesh.
During the early years of research, BRRI followed the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in developing semi-dwarf photoperiod-insensitive varieties. Over time, BRRI scientists deviated from the IRRI concept of dwarfism for high yield, and restructured the IR8 plant type to suit local agroecological conditions. Intermediate-height plants with relatively short growth cycles and mild photoperiod-sensitivity were developed to suit the local agroecological conditions and meet the socioeconomic demand of farmers.
MV rices of BRRI presently cover 90% of the Boro (winter rice), 25-30% of the Aus (summer rice), and 50-55% of the T Aman (wet season rice) areas of Bangladesh. These varieties together cover 56% of the total rice area and account for about 74% of the total annual rice production of the country. BRRI MV rices and modern rice production technologies played the key role in boosting annual rice production in Bangladesh from 9.93 million m tons of clean rice in 1972-73 to nearly 34 million m tons of clean rice at present.
BRRI cereal chemists regularly evaluate rice grain quality in terms of taste, cooking quality, milling outturn, aroma, protein and amylase contents etc., helping plant breeders develop varieties with desirable grain quality. About 8000 germplasms, of which nearly 5,000 are local have been collected and preserved by BRRI plant breeders. Recently, sufficient, thrust has been given on hybrid rice development and production technology.
BRRI now has 134 scientists and 344 supporting staff working at Joydebpur (HQ) and its 9 regional stations. The institute has active research collaboration schemes with different national and international organisations[Engr. Md. Kamruzzaman Milon, SSO, BRRI]
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