Wheat Research Centre

Wheat Research Centre (WRC) one of the six Research Centres of the bangladesh agricultural research institute (BARI), located at Nashipur, about 15 km to the north of Dinajpur town. It was established in July 1980 to promote research on all aspects cultivation and production of wheat. Before the establishment of this Centre, wheat research in the country was initiated in 1971 under a scheme entitled 'Accelerated Wheat Research Programme for Bangladesh' for a period of 3 years. The programme continued until June 1975. The scheme was then revised in the form of 'Expanded Wheat Research Programme'. During this period 8 varieties were recommended and released. These released varieties had a tremendous impact on wheat production of the country. After the establishment of the Wheat Research Centre, all wheat research activities were largely transferred from Joydebpur, BARI to Nashipur, which is now the main wheat research station and is also the headquarter for wheat research.

The centre has functional infrastructures including office buildings and research laboratories, experimental farms, a farm house consisting of threshing floor, godown and engineering workshop; staff quarters; training complex, and guest house.

Table Varieties released by the Wheat Research Centre.

Variety Source of germplasm Year of release
Sonora-64 CIMMYT 1968
Kalyansona/Mexipak India/Pakistan 1968
Inia-66 CIMMYT 1972
Sonalika India 1973
Norteno-67 CIMMYT 1974
Tanori-71 CIMMYT 1974
Jupateco-73 CIMMYT 1974
Pavon-7 CIMMYT 1979
Balaka India 1979
Doel CIMMYT 1979
Kanchan India 1983
Ananda CIMMYT 1983
Barkat CIMMYT 1983
Akbar CIMMYT 1983
Aghrani Pakistan 1987
Seri-82 CIMMYT 1987
Sawgat CIMMYT 1993
Protiva Thailand 1993
Sourav CIMMYT 1998
Gourav CIMMYT 1998
Shatabadi CIMMYT 2000

The centre is headed by a Director who is assisted by about 25 research scientists and other officers. In addition, a number of researchers are engaged in wheat research programmes in the following regional and sub-stations of BARI: Regional Agricultural Research Station, Ishurdi, Pabna; Regional Agricultural Research Station, Khairtola, Jessore; Regional Agricultural Research Station, Jamalpur; Regional Agricultural Research Station, Hathazari, Chittagong; BARI Headquarters, Joydebpur, Gazipur; and Agricultural Research Station, Shyampur, rajshahi.

The WRC has the following major research programmes: Varietal improvement; crop and soil management; crop protection; quality testing; training and research demonstration; maintenance breeding; breeder seed production and seed increase; and economics and statistical services.

A collaborative research project, namely Rice-Wheat System Research, initiated by bangladesh rice research institute (BRRI) and BARI, in a consortium with IRRI, CIMMYT and ICRISAT, is being implemented at the WRC and BRRI stations.

Research activities of the centre are being organised mainly on the basis of the needs of farmers and the problems of wheat cultivation. WRC has so far released 21 varieties of wheat (table). These varieties contributed 30-40 percent of the production growth rate during 1975-85. The recently released varieties produce 15-35 percent higher yields than the older ones.

'Kanchan' is very popular among farmers and covers more than 80% of the total cultivated area under wheat. The latest varieties have proved to be even more promising and produce more than 8-10 percent higher yields than Kanchan.

The Wheat Research Centre has been making significant contribution to national economy. All the areas under wheat cultivation are covered by the varieties released by this centre. The seed preservation technology developed by the centre has been disseminated among farmers who can now preserve their own seeds and meet about 80% of the total requirement of the country. Almost 75% extension officers have been trained in wheat production technology. Since 1984 about 2000 farmers and block supervisors are being trained annually. In collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Extension, the WRC has been conducting about 1200 demonstrations in farmers' fields annually. Five hundred kg of breeders' seeds of each recommended popular variety are being supplied to bangladesh agricultural development corporation (BADC) every year for production of foundation seeds. [Md Shahidul Islam]

See also wheat; Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute; green revolution.