The demand for wheat is in the uptrend as the country’s daily consumption of the cereal has gone up from 72 grams in fiscal 2014-15 to 125 grams at present (source: Directorate General of Food, Bangladesh). The increased demand is due to the changing food habits, daily domestic consumption as ruti, paratha, bread, noodles, pasta and other baked goods in addition to export of flour-based items. However, the supply of wheat is challenged due to its dependency on imports mostly. Annually 85% of the current annual demand of 7.7 million tons of wheat is met through import. Wheat import experienced 116% increase in six years (2015-2020).
As per Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), about 3.5 lakh hectares of land will be used to produce 13 lakh tons of wheat this year which is slightly higher than the production of 12.45 lakh tons from 3.29 lakh hectares of land in 2019-20. But we need to increase domestic production at a higher pace. And there is no alternative other than introducing high yielding and quality (high gluten content) wheat varieties suitable for our country. High yield will also attract farmers to produce more wheat. ACI Agribusiness, as the leading agriculture integrator in Bangladesh, is in the development process of new wheat varieties through its Advanced Seed Research and Biotech Centre (ASRBC) since 2014.
Through the advanced breeding technique ACI has undertaken to develop two varieties named ACI Gom-1 (Gluta 1) and ACI Gom-2 (Gluta 2). Salient features of these varieties are increased yield potential of 5.0 Mt/ha where current average yield is 3.5 Mt/ha with higher gluten content of 34.4% and 28.9% in Gluta 1 and Gluta 2 respectively. ASRBC is also in the process of advancing two lines in 2021-22 while evaluating 59 more lines of wheat.
Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO