China to invest Tk 160 cr for drought and saline prone areas

Bangladesh, already a self-sufficient country in food production, is to see a further jump in crop yield in near future as a large chunk of money would be invested by a foreign country to grow mainly paddy in the draught and saline prone areas.

To this end, the government under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will carry out continuous research as to how to increase the crop production in the country's 10 lakh hectares of drought and saline prone lands, now growing very meager amount of paddy and other crops.

The MoU was signed between Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) and China National Seed Group Company Limited at the BADC Bhaban here today. China will invest Taka 160 crore over the next two years under this MoU to help Bangladesh further improve crop production in these lands.

BADC Chairman M Nasiruzzaman and Vice President of China National Seed Group Company Benchuan Pian signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments.

Under the MoU, the government will establish an Adaptive Research and Development Centre at Dattanagar in Jessore for carrying out adaptive research in developing high yielding rice varieties that would be suitable for the drought and saline prone areas.

"As the country's population is rising we are going to develop more high yielding fine rice varieties in collaboration with China," said the BADC Chairman.

The yield from conventional local variety is not more than 3 tonnes and it is 5-6 tonnes for the HYV in the drought and saline prone areas, he said adding, but the yield from the newly developed varieties would be at least 8-10 tonnes per hectare.

Basically, we will develop our crop varieties through research with China and we have developed the parent line of 56 high yielding crop varieties successfully, said M Golam Kibria, Manager (Khamar), BADC.

Meanwhile, the government has allocated 37 bighas of land at the Dattanagar farm in Jessore, one of the largest farms in the Asia, for establishing the Adaptive Research and Development Centre, said Shahdab Akbar, Chairman of Golden Burn Kingdom Private Limited (GBK) , co-partner of China National Seed Group Company Limited.

Beside this, the Chinese government will assist in innovating improved crop varieties, impart training to the local researchers and farmers and help to resist crop diseases, he said.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)