Ag-gcp/ras/186/jpn field document no. 2007/05



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AG-GCP/RAS/186/JPN 

FIELD DOCUMENT NO.2007/05 

 

 

 

 

The Second Report on Plant Genetic Resources for Food 

and Agriculture of Bangladesh – The State of Activities 

 

 



 

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council 

Ministry of Agriculture

 

 

 



 

 

 



Written by:

 

Md. Abdur Razzaque

1

 

and 

M. Gul Hossain

2

 

 

 



 

 

 



 

February 2007 

 

 

                                                           



1

 Member Director (Crops), Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and National Focal Point for NISM-GPA Project   

2

 Former Director (Technology Transfer), Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council

 


 

ii

 



 

 

 



 

The designation and presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of 

any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United 

Nations and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council: the Coordinating Body of National 

Agricultural Research Systems, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the People’s Republic of 

Bangladesh, concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, 

or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries. 

 

 

 

 

iii


 

Acknowledgements 

 

The paper is an outcome of the FAO project “Establishment of a National Information Sharing Mechanism on the 



Implementation of Monitoring of Global Plan of Action for Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant 

Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.” The project involved participants from some 20 stakeholder 

organizations including the Chief Technical Adviser of the Project, Dr. N. Quat Ng of the FAO Regional Office for 

Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok and Dr. Paul Quek, Scientist  (Documentation / Information) of the Bioversity 

International, Malaysia.  

 

The organizations from within Bangladesh included the Ministry of agriculture, the Ministry of Forest and 



Environment, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, the 

Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute, the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear 

Agriculture, the Bangladesh Sugarcane Research Institute, Bangladesh Forest Research Institute, Bangladesh 

Tea Research Institute,  the Cotton Development, Bangladesh National Herbarium, the Bangladesh Livestock 

research Institute, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Bangladesh Agricultural 

University, Mymensingh, the Department of Agricultural Extension, the Forest Department,  the Seed 

Certification Agency, Coastal Development Partnership,  East West Seed (Bd.) Ltd. and Bangladesh Rural 

Advancement Committee (BRAC). The activities of the project was coordinated by Dr. Md. Abdur Razzaque, 

Member Director (Crops), Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and the National Focal Point for the Global 

Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and 

Agriculture.  

 

We express our thanks to the participants of the organizations from within Bangladesh for providing information 



on plant genetic resources on behalf of their organizations which were the bases of this report. We specially 

express our thanks to Dr. N. Quat Ng and Dr. Paul Quek for their caring assistance in imparting training on 

NISM-GPA, the software used in preparing the PGR database and the report. Mr. Abeed Hossain Chowdhury, 

Director of the Computer Centre of BARC, deserves our special thanks for taking constant interest in project 

activities, acting as the repository of the database, providing training and backstop assistance to stakeholder 

organizations, and in developing NISM-GPA database for Bangladesh. Finally we would like to express our 

thanks to FAO and the Government of Japan for financial and technical assistance in preparing this valuable 

report. 


 

 

 



 

Md.  Abdur Razzaque 

 

 

 



 

 

 



M. Gul Hossain   

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

  



 

 

 



 

 

iv

Acronyms and Abbreviations 

 

 

ACUC 



Asian Centre for Underutilized Crops 

AEZ 


Agro Ecological Zone 

ARIs


 

Agricultural Research Institutes 

AVRDC 

Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre 



BAAG 

Bangladesh Academy of Agricultural  

BADC 

Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation 



BARC 

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council 

BARI 

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute 



BAU 

Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh 

BFRI 

Bangladesh Forest Research Institute 



BGASA 

Bangladesh Golden Agri Seed Associates Ltd. 

BINA 

Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture 



BJRI 

Bangladesh Jute Research Institute 

BNH 

Bangladesh National Herbarium 



BRAC 

Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee – an NGO 

BRRI 

Bangladesh Rice Research Institute 



BSF 

Bangladesh Seed Federation 

BSGDMA 

Bangladesh Seed Growers, Dealers and Merchants Association 



BSMRAU 

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University 

BSRI 

Bangladesh Sugarcane Research Institute 



BTRI 

Bangladesh Tea Research Institute 

CARD 

Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development  



CARE 

Cooperation for Assistance and Relief Everywhere 

CBD 

Convention of Biological Diversity 



CDB 

Cotton Development Board 

CDP 

Coastal Development Partnership 



CFC 

Common Fund for Commodity 

CG 

Contract Grower  



CGIAR 

Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research 

CIMMYT 

International Centre for Maize and Wheat Improvement  



CIP 

International Potato Centre 

COGENT 

Coconut Genetic Coconut Genetic Resources Network 



CS Certified 

Seed 


CTA 

Chief Technical Adviser 

CWR 

Crop Wild Relative 



DAE 

Department of Agricultural Extension 

DNA 

Deoxy Ribonucleic Acid 



DoF 

Department of Forest 

DUS Distinction 

Uniform 


Stability 

E&C  


Exploration and Collection of germplasm 

EIA 


Environment Impact Assessment 

FAO 


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 

FBSE 


Farmer Based Seed Enterprise 

FCD 


Flood Control and Drainage 

FCDI 


Flood Control, Drainage and Irrigation 

GATT 


General Agreement on Trade and Tariff 

GIS 


Geographical Information System 

GKF 


Grameen Krishi Foundation 

GoB Government 

of 

Bangladesh 



 

v

GPA 



Global Plan of Action 

GTZ 


German Technical Assistance 

HRC Horticulture 

Research 

Centre 


HYV High 

Yielding 

Varieties 

IAEA 


International Atomic Energy Authority 

IARC 


International Agricultural Research Centre 

ICARDA 


International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas 

ICPPGR 


International Conference and Programme for Plant Genetic Resources 

ICRISAT 


International Crop Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics 

ICUC 


International Centre for Underutilized Crops 

IJO International 

Jute Organization 

IJSG 


International Jute Study Group 

INGER 


International  Network for Genetic Evaluation of Rice 

INIBAP International 

Network 

for Banana and Plantation 

IPGRI 

International Plant Genetic Resources Institute 



IPSA 

Institute of Post-Graduate Studies in Agriculture 

IRRI International 

Rice Research Institute 

ISO International 

Sugar 


Organization 

ISTA 


International Seed Testing Association 

IT Information 

Technology 

IUCN 


International Union for Conservation of Natural Resources 

JICA 


Japan International Cooperation Agency 

MAS 


Molecular Aided Selection 

MHAT 


Moist Hot Air Treatment 

MoEF 


Ministry of Environment and Forest 

MoU Memorandum 

of 

Understanding 



NARS 

National Agricultural Research System 

NBPGR 

National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources 



NCPGR 

National Committee on Plant Genetic Resources 

NGO 

Non Government Organization 



NISM-GPA 

National Information Sharing Mechanism – Global Plant of Action for Conservation and 

Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture 

NSB National 

Seed 

Board 


NSP National 

Seed 


Policy 

NZ New 


Zealand 

OECD 


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development 

OP Open 


Pollinated 

ORC 


Oilseed Research Centre 

PBD 


Plant Breeding Division 

PGR 


Plant Genetic Resources 

PGRFA 


Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture 

PPB 


Participatory Plant Breeding 

PRC Pulses 

Research 

Centre 


PRSP 

Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 

PVS Participatory 

Variety Selection 

RAPD 

Random Amplification of Polymeric DNA 



SAARC 

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation 

SANPGR 

South Asia Network of Plant Genetic Resources 



SAVERNET 

South Asia Vegetable Research Network 

SCA 

Seed Certification Agency 



SDC 

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation 

SSR Simple 

Sequence 

Repeat 

TAMNET 


Tropical Asia Maize network 

 

vi

TLS Truthfully 



Labelled 

Seed 


TRIPS 

Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights 

TTMU 

Technical Training and Monitoring Unit 



UBINIG 

Policy Research for Development Alternative 

UNDP 

United Nations Development Program 



UNFPA 

United Nations Fund for Population Activities 

USA 

United States of America 



USDA 

United State Department of Agriculture 

VCU 

Value for Cultivation and Use 



WARDA 

West Africa Rice Development Authority 

WCR Wild 

Crop 


Relatives 

WPF 


Wild Plants for Food Production 

WRC 


Wheat Research Centre 

WTO 


World Treaty Organization 

 

 



 

vii


Contents 

 

 

Page 

Acknowledgements iii 

  

Acronyms and Abbreviation 

iv 

 

 

 

Contents vii 

 

Summary 1 

 

Prologue 5 

 

1. Background 



 

   

2. The Landscape of Bangladesh and Its Flora 



 

3. Bangladesh Agriculture 



 

Farming systems 



6 

 

Crop / plant products 



 Food 


security 

7 

 

Agriculture – A changing scenario 7 



 

The seed supply system 7 



 

4. The State of Plant Diversity 



 

Major crops and their state of diversity 



8 

 

Minor crops and their state of diversity 



8 

 

Wild plants related to cultivated crops 



8 

 

Changing relative importance of crops 



9 

 

Threats of genetic vulnerability and causes of genetic erosion in Bangladesh 



12 

 

Improving the understanding of the state of diversity 



13 

 

 

5. The State of In Situ Management 

14 

 

  GPA Activity Area 1: Surveying and Inventorying of Plant Genetic Resources  



14 

 

 



for Food and Agriculture 

 

   GPA Activity Area 2: Supporting On-Farm Management and Improvement of  



19 

 

Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture 



 

   GPA Activity Area 3: Assisting Farmers in Disaster Situation to Restore  



20   

Agricultural Systems 



 

 

   GPA Activity Area 4: Promoting In Situ Conservation of Wild Crop Relatives and   20   



   

Wild Plants for Food Production 

 

6. The State of Ex Situ Management 

21 

 

   GPA Activity Area 5: Sustaining Ex Situ Collections 



21 

♦  GPA Activity Area 6: Regenerating Threatened Ex Situ Accessions 



23 

   GPA Activity Area 7: Supporting Planned and Targeted Collecting of  



23         

Plant Genetic Resources 

   

   GPA Activity Area 8: Expanding Ex Situ Conservation Activities 



24   

 

 



 

viii


 

7. The State of Use of Plant Genetic Resources 

24   

  GPA Activity Area 9: Expanding the Characterization, Evaluation and  



24   

 

Number of Core Collections to Facilitate Use 



   

♦  GPA Activity Area 10: Increasing Genetic Enhancement and  



26   

 Base-broadening 

Efforts 



 

GPA Activity Area 11:  Promoting Sustainable Agriculture through  

26   

Diversification of Crop Production and Broader Diversity in Crops  



 

GPA Activity Area 12:  Promoting Development and  



27   

 

Commercialization of Under-utilized Crops and Species 



   GPA Activity Area 13: Supporting Seed Production and Distribution 

29 

   GPA Activity Area 14: Developing New Markets for Local Varieties and  



31 

 “Diversity-Rich” 

Products 

 

8. The State of National Programmes and Training Needs 



32 

  GPA Activity Area 15: Building Strong National Programmes 



32 

  GPA Activity Area 16: Promoting Networks for PGRFA 



35 

  GPA Activity Area 17: Constructing Comprehensive Information  



36   

Systems for PGRFA 



 

GPA Activity Area 18: Developing Monitoring and Early Warning 



36 

 

System for PGRFA 





 

GPA Activity Area 19: Expanding and Improving Education and 



37 

 

Training on PGR 



 



 

GPA Activity Area 20: Promoting Public Awareness of the Value of PGRFA 

37 

 Conservation 

and 

Use 


 

9. Priority Activity Areas for Bangladesh 

38 

 

 

   

APPENDIX  

40 

 

 

1

The Second Report on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and 



Agriculture of Bangladesh – The State of Activities 

 

 



Summary  

 

Bangladesh is an abode of 5,000 species vascular plants and is the secondary centre of origin of a good number of 

crop plants. Evidence is mounting about the rapid wane of its genetic resources. The National Agricultural Research 

System (NARS) started cropping systems research as far back as in 1974 with a special focus on crop diversification.  

A number of potential cropping patterns have been identified. As a result cropping system is gradually transforming 

from traditional practices to improved management practices with improved varieties.  

There are more than 160 crops grown in Bangladesh. Among them there is a good number of major crops in 

Bangladesh  that are beyond the list of major crops of Multilateral System of International Treaty on Plant Genetic 

Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO). There are also about 100 minor crops, including fruits and vegetables that 

are grown in Bangladesh.  With the change of subsistence crop production system to commercial agriculture, an 

accompanying change in the seed supply system is now noticeable in the country. Agricultural research institutes

universities and others involved in crop variety development, supply Breeder Seed to Bangladesh Agricultural 

Development Corporation (BADC) for production of Foundation Seed and Certified Seed. The time is ripe for the 

development of organized seed industry in Bangladesh.  

 

The State of Plant Diversity 

While the diversity of traditional varieties is decreasing fast, there is an increasing trend in the diversity of modern 

varieties. More than 300 wild indigenous species of plants have been identified that are relatives to the cultivated 

crops grown in Bangladesh. The major reasons for the loss of diversity include, among others, the use of high yielding 

crop varieties at the expense of traditional varieties/landraces, lack of knowledge of multiple use of species, lack of 

value addition as well as overexploitation of plant genetic resources. National and institutional priorities for undertaking 

PGR surveys should be established.  

GPA Activity Area 1: Some sporadic surveys on wild PGR have been undertaken in Bangladesh and the priority 

areas for survey and inventory of plant genetic resources in Bangladesh have been identified. Constraints in 

undertaking survey and monitoring activities include, among others: insufficient financial support for PGRFA; 

insufficient trained staff in PGRFA and lack of awareness in conservation of plant genetic resources. Through a 

collaborative National Workshop on Plant Genetic Resources in 1997, involving the National Committee on Plant 

Genetic Resources (NCPGR), the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and the IPGRI, the national priorities in 

PGR have already been identified. The National Committee on Plant Genetic Resources is in place but it needs to be 

reactivated. 

 

GPA Activity Area 2: Programmes/projects/activities on in situ conservation of Wild Crop Relatives and Wild Plants 

for Food and Agriculture have so far been poor in Bangladesh. The major limitations to on-farm conservation include, 

among other things, lack of incentives to farmers for on-farm conservation and improvement of PGRFA; insufficient 

number of staff for conservation work; inadequate staff training; insufficient supply of seed/planting material. The 

priority needs for supporting on-farm conservation and improvement of PGRFA are: developing markets for products 

originating from traditional and under-utilized varieties and crops; providing incentives, including awards, to farmers for 

on-farm conservations; management and improvement of PGRFA; seed enhancement and creating facilities for 

genetic finger printing. The National Committee for Plant Genetic Resources (NCPGR) should be revived to undertake 

initiatives, among other things, towards post-disaster restoration of agriculture and to identify its (NCPGR) institutional 

base with the proposed National Institute of Plant Genetic Resources.  

 

GPA Activity Area 3: Bangladesh is vulnerable to natural calamities like flood, cyclones, tornadoes, tidal surges. 

River bank erosion is a silent disaster. The National Committee for Plant Genetic Resources (NCPGR) should be 

revived or an institutional base should be identified to undertake initiatives, among other things, towards post-disaster 

restoration of agriculture. In the interim period, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council is taking care of the 

activities related to PGR.  


 

2

 



GPA Activity Area 4: The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute has identified two in situ locations (for pigeon 

pea and jackfruit), the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute has identified five in situ locations for wild rice and the 

Bangladesh Tea Research Institute has identified 100 Tea Estates as in situ locations of tea germplasm.  For 

promoting  in situ conservation of Wild Relatives of Crops and Wild Plants for Food production, the major needs 

identified include: livelihood supporting species should be identified and their conservation promoted and regional 

approach in in situ conservation of PGR should be undertaken. 

 




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