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Commercial production of high-yielding GMO potato and jute varieties coming soon in Bangladesh

High yielding varieties of potato and ‘tosha paat (jute)’ will be introduced soon for commercial production as the National Seed Board (NSB) in Bangladesh has given its approval in this regard.

According to sources, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) has developed the high yield potato variety ‘BARI Alu-81’, while the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) has developed the high yield jute variant ‘BJRI Tosha Paat-8’.

At a recently held meeting at the NSB, chaired by agriculture secretary Md Nasiruzzaman, approvals were given to introduce these variants to farmers, sources said.

“The original strain for the high yielding variety BARI Alu-81 was collected from the International Potato Center (CIP). Scientists at BARI then developed the variety through cloning the CIP-10 line. The variety developed by BARI researchers can produce very high yields,” Ashraf Uddin Ahmed, additional secretary of the agriculture ministry, who is also director-general (seeds), said.

He further said BARI Alu-81 potato has been approved as a food item, noting that the variety grows very fast.

“The BARI scientists have cultivated BARI Alu-81 potato in six areas on a trial basis. The production was 39.6 tonnes per hectare, while the production capacity of BARI Alu-7 (Diamond) potato is 28.1 tonnes per hectare,” Ahmed said.

He said the field evaluation team has suggested distributing BARI Alu-81 seeds to farmers on a commercial basis. The farmers should be able to harvest the new variety of high yielding potato within 90-95 days and the potato is tolerant to viruses, he added.

Report by The Independent