After success of the world’s first zinc-enriched rice variety Brri dhan-62, Bangladeshi breeders have come up with another rice variety with higher zinc content and greater yield potentials.

This rice variety was released a year before and after this the breeders are ready with a new rice variety.

High-zinc rice — Brri dhan-62 — released late last year contains around 19 to 20 parts per million (ppm) zinc against 14 to 16 ppm in other high-yielding rice varieties. However, the ready-for-release rice breed contains zinc as high as 25 ppm.

Zinc, iron and vitamin-A are the three most vital micronutrients, deficiency of which hampers children’s natural growth and decrease their disease prevention capacity. 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.

Advantages of Brri dhan-64  over Brri dhan-62

  • More productive than the high-zinc rice already released
  • Average yield of Brri dhan-62, meant for rain-fed Aman season, is 4.2 metric tons (MT) per hectare while the proposed hi-zinc line — Brri dhan-64 — has yield potentials of over 6 MT per hectare.
  • Both Brri dhan-62 and Brri dhan-64, which are capable of fighting diarrhoea and pneumonia-induced childhood deaths and stunting
  • Brri dhan-62 for Aman season and the other Brri dhan-64 for Boro season.

As per the mandate of the international collaboration, the zinc-enriched rice varieties developed in Bangladesh are now expected to export to  Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) breeders have developed this high zinc rich varieties through application of biological fortification (biofortification).

Biofortification is a process, in which plant breeders search for seeds having high nutritional value among existing varieties of crops. They then crossbreed the high-nutrient varieties with high-yielding varieties to provide seeds with high yield and increased nutritional value.

Including Bangladesh other 27 countries have also used this Biofortification and has released different biofortified crops .Not only rice butother crops like  iron-enriched beans and pear millets, zinc-rich wheat and vitamin-A-enriched cassava, maize and sweet potato have also developed using this Biofortification.