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Battling late blight: GMO modified Agrico potato varieties soon to be distributed to farmers in Bangladesh

With the objective of eradicating the late blight disease in potato, the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) in Domar upazila is currently growing trial varieties that are said to be resistant to the disease.

Based on the success of growing the trial varieties at its Foundation Seed Potato Production Farm (FSPPF) in Domar, the BADC hopes to distribute seed of the new varieties among farmers across the country by the next potato cultivation season.  

Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) genetically modified two of Agrico’s varieties to develop two new varieties. In November last year, the National Seed Board (NSB) approved the trial varieties.

Amal Kumar Das, principal scientific officer of BARI in Panchagarh, said they modified the new late blight resistant potato varieties according to the local climate from two of Agrico’s varieties — Alouette and Carolus — that they imported from the Netherlands. The new modified varieties are named BARI-90 and BARI-91.

Potato farmers in the country are now hoping to achieve better harvests from the new seed after incurring great losses to the late blight disease for years.

Report by The Daily Star. Full report here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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