Tackling spread of wheat blast in Bangladesh

PK Malaker, BARI senior wheat pathologist (2nd from the left) and other BARI scientists showing blast affected wheat to Kropff in Jessore district. Malaker is the scientist who first identified the emergence of wheat blast in Bangladesh. Photo: CIMMYT-Bangladesh

PK Malaker, BARI senior wheat pathologist (2nd from the left) and other BARI scientists showing blast affected wheat to Kropff in Jessore district. Malaker is the scientist who first identified the emergence of wheat blast in Bangladesh. Photo credit: CIMMYT/Bangladesh

DHAKA — On a recent visit to Bangladesh, CIMMYT Director General Martin Kropff held discussions with partners and government officials on combating wheat blast disease and other aspects of maintaining food security in the country.

Meetings were held with Bangladesh’s agriculture minister and member of Parliament Begum Matia Chowdhury and Secretary of Agriculture Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, where CIMMYT’s activities in Bangladesh were also discussed. Wheat blast is one of the most feared and intractable wheat diseases.

A new, severe outbreak of the disease in Bangladesh validated the prediction of the spread of the disease beyond its origins in Latin America to Africa and South Asia. The spread of wheat blast could be devastating to South Asia, which is home to 300 million undernourished people and whose inhabitants consume over 100 million tons of wheat each year.

Martin Kropff and Nynke Kropff- Nammensma with CIMMYT-Bangladesh staff. Photo: Utam Barman/CIMMYT

Martin Kropff and Nynke Kropff- Nammensma with CIMMYT-Bangladesh staff. Photo: Utam Barman/CIMMYT

During a two day field visit, Kropff saw the impacts of wheat blast in the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute’s (BARI) research station in Jessore and farmers’ fields. He also spent the visit meeting Bangladeshi farmers, observing mechanization scaling efforts and visiting a range of CIMMYT varietal and agronomic research trials and demonstrations funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in Jessore and Dinajpur districts.  In addition he held discussions with scientists from BARI and visited the organization’s headquarters in Gazipur and

Kropff (L) meets with Bangladesh’s Agriculture Minister and Member of Parliament Begum Matia Chowdhury (2nd from left) to address the spread of wheat blast in the country, along with (from L-R) Nynke Kropff – Nammensma, CIMMYT-Bangladesh Country Representative TP Tiwari and Secretary of Agriculture Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah. Photo: Zia Ahmed/CIMMYT

Kropff (L) meets with Bangladesh’s Agriculture Minister and Member of Parliament Begum Matia Chowdhury (2nd from left) to address the spread of wheat blast in the country, along with (from L-R) Nynke Kropff – Nammensma, CIMMYT-Bangladesh Country Representative TP Tiwari and Secretary of Agriculture Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah. Photo: Zia Ahmed/CIMMYT

the Wheat Research Centre in Dinajpur district. Kropff also learned how irrigation management advisory with satellite technology is being developed with BARI, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) and other core partners to release mobile applications for farming.

Kropff also held discussions with partners, including BARI Director General Rafiqul Islam Mondal and Abul Kalam Azad, executive director of BARC. Mondal lauded CIMMYT for its continuous support of BARI’s promotion of maize and wheat for food security in Bangladesh.

 


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