RAJSHAHI, Nov 13 (BSS): Agricultural scientists, researchers and extension officials have unequivocally called for concerted efforts of all government and non-government organisations for the successful management of wheat blast disease for boosting the yield of wheat.
They viewed substantial and sustainable boosting of wheat as very important for food security in the present context of water-stress conditions. So, there is no alternative to manage the wheat blast integrally and collectively, they said.
The observation came in a regional workshop styled "Wheat Blast Disease Management in Northwest Bangladesh and Boosting Wheat Yield" held in the conference hall of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) in the city Sunday.
Wheat Research Centre (WRC) under Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI organised the workshop in association with ACIAR and CIMMYT with the main thrust of discussing ways and means on how to manage the wheat blast disease and to enhance the wheat yield collectively.
Director general of BARI Dr Rafiqul Islam Mondal addressed the workshop as the chief guest while chairman of BMDA Dr Akram Hossain Chowdhury spoke as guest of honour with director of WRC Dr Naresh Chandra Dev Barma in the chair.
BMDA Executive Director Engineer Abdur Rashid and additional director of Department of Agriculture Extension Fazlur Rahman also spoke. Principal scientific officer of Regional Wheat Research Centre Dr Ilias Hossain welcomed the participants.
During their keynote presentations, WRC Director Dr Barma and its Chief Scientific Officer Dr Paritosh Kumar Malakar devised the ways and means on how to enhance wheat yield through managing the blast.
They said substantial and sustainable expansion of wheat farming can mitigate the existing water-stress condition in the high Barind tract as wheat is environment friendly crop.
Time has come to enhance acreage of wheat farming instead of only depending on Irri-Boro rice in the dried area to ensure food security amid the adverse impact of climate change.
Apart from this, they mentioned that seven to eight bighas of wheat could be cultivated with the irrigated water of only one bigha of Boro rice through soil moisture utilisation and the best use of the modern technologies.
Dr Rafiqul Islam said wheat plays an important role in ensuring food security as its consumption is increasing day by day. But, the country produces hardly 10 lakh metric tons of wheat against the demand of around 40 lakh tons annually, he stated.
He, however, said Rajshahi region contributes 35 per cent of total area and 44 per cent of total production. Not only that, there are around 50,000 hectares of more rain fed land in the high Barind area and there has been a bright prospects of bringing the huge land under wheat cultivation.