The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, or Cimmyt, said it introduced a wheat variety in Bangladesh, this month, which is tolerant to the Ug99 strain of stem-rust fungus that wiped out fields in Kenya.
The new wheat variety, named Francolin, has “good” resistance to all varieties of Ug99 as well as yields that are about 10 percent higher than the most commonly grown wheat variety in Bangladesh, El Batan, Mexico-based Cimmyt wrote in an online report dated March 23.
Wheat is the second-most grown cereal in Bangladesh after rice, with an area of 380,000 hectares (938,980 acres), according to Cimmyt. Francolin seed is being multiplied on 55 hectares, and about 150 metric tons of seed is expected to be available for the next planting season, the center said.
“The danger posed by the Ug99 strain of the disease stem rust to global wheat production is well recognized, and Bangladesh is no exception,” Cimmyt wrote.
Cimmyt said it’s working with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute on the new wheat variety. The introduction of Francolin was helped in part by a USAID seed-multiplication program, according to the research center.
The first Ug99-resistant wheat introduced to the country in 2010 was called Hashi, and the two new varieties are expected to cover more than 5 percent of the total wheat area in 2012-13, according to Cimmyt.
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