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Bangladesh triples rice production with nuclear science

Staff Writer | March 6, 2017
New varieties of rice made using nuclear techniques have helped Bangladesh increase its rice production three-fold in the last few decades.
Bangladesh rice
Food production   A secure and steady supply
This in turn has enabled the country to stay one step ahead of its rapid population growth.

Today there is a secure and steady supply of rice in Bangladesh, and the country is shifting from being an importer to an exporter of rice.

Binadhan-7 is one of several rice varieties developed by the scientists at the Bangladesh Institute for Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), with the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

It was developed through a process using radiation called plant mutation breeding (see Plant mutation breeding), and has since become a popular rice variety in the northern part of the country where it has helped farmers and workers stabilize their income and find year-long employment.

Globally more than 3 000 plant varieties have been developed and released using plant mutation breeding techniques.

These mutant varieties will continue to play a key role in meeting global food demands as the world's population rapidly grows and environmental conditions become more challenging.

They can also help in averting famine, a major global problem recently highlighted by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.