Rust resistant wheat in Bangladesh: Progress and prospects
Leaf rust is most common wheat rust in Bangladesh. Late planted wheat crops are more likely to be affected. Yellow rust occurs occasionally with sporadic infection in the northern parts and stem rust was observed after three decades in 2014, but Ug99 races were not detected. The Wheat Research Centre in Bangladesh works in collaboration with CIMMYT and BGRI to develop high yielding rust resistant wheat varieties. Advanced lines and breeding materials are screened every year at KARLO, Kenya, and EARI, Ethiopia, for resistance to Ug99. Rapid multiplication of pre-released and newly released rust resistant varieties is given top priority for quick replacement of rust susceptible varieties. Currently, about 60% of the wheat area is covered by leaf rust resistant varieties released in the last five years, including around 20% of the area covered by varieties with adult plant resistance to Pgt race Ug99. About 40% of the wheat area is still covered by older varieties such as Prodip. Another Ug99 resistant variety (BARI Gom 29) released in 2014 is undergoing seed multiplication. Large scale seed multiplication of Ug99 resistant varieties is part of a broader strategy to mitigate the potential threat. In the last four years, about 125 tonnes of breeder seed and more than 50 thousand tonnes of certified seed of rust resistant varieties were produced and distributed to seed production agencies and to farmers. Rust surveillance is conducted on a regular basis in the major wheat growing areas. About 50% of the sites surveyed in 2014 had moderate to high severities of leaf rust, but in 2015 severities were much lower. These efforts have been very useful for sustaining and enhancing wheat productivity and production in Bangladesh.