Asia - Pacific

Bangladesh's 1st rice museum showcases country's farming transformation

324 rice samples, primitive to modern farming technologies and full cycle of rice showcased

SM Najmus Sakib   | 28.04.2022
Bangladesh's 1st rice museum showcases country's farming transformation File photo

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh has opened its first rice museum, which visualizes the full cycle of production -- from paddy seed to mature rice -- along with showcasing the transformation from traditional to contemporary farming technologies and the history of ensuring food security.

The Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) set up the 10-million-taka ($115,145) museum in the Gazipur district near Dhaka. The three-year project was initiated in 2018, and the museum was opened to visitors last month, according to museum officials.

“The purpose of the museum is to present a total picture of rice farming and the agricultural transformation in Bangladesh. It’s a knowledge hub especially for farmers and the new generation as it preserves and showcases all rice varieties and Bangladesh’s farming history and culture,” Jiban Krishna Biswas, the executive director of the Agricultural Research Foundation or Krishi Gobeshona Foundation, told Anadolu Agency.

He said all of the tools used during traditional rice husking are also on display, and the new generation needs to know their own culture and history of how their ancestors ensured food security amid challenges.

Biswas, who took the initiative to establish the museum with his government agency extending technical support, sought more financial support from the government to further expand it.

From paddy seed to mature rice

Mohammad Abdul Momin, a senior liaison officer of BRRI and program director of the BRRI Rice Museum, shared details on the museum with Anadolu Agency.

It displays replicas of 10 major stages of rice farming, which describe the 140-150 days in the life cycle of rice to visitors.

“We usually see a single stage of paddy farming on the field, but here (in the museum), we display and describe the whole seed-to-seed operation until the 80% mature stage of rice through replicas.

“The museum showcases 324 samples of 108 varieties of rice innovated by the BRRI. It also includes 99 inbreed and seven zinc fortified hybrid rice varieties. Visitors, farmers, and students of agricultural universities now have the opportunity to learn about rice under a single roof,” he said.

“We have 8,600 germplasms of rice mostly locally grown from which we developed the modern variety of rice. In the germplasm corner of the museum, we have displayed 350 samples, mostly lucrative and attractive varieties.”

Agricultural transformation, food security

A total of 14 sections or corners in the museum have been set up to showcase rice cultivation, husking methods, and traditional and antique tools used in rural Bangladesh, Momin said.

"A separate section displays 60 to 70 antique machinery such as rope tackers, cattle-drawn yokes, traps for herons, hammers and other farming tools apart from 37 modern-day machines with descriptions of their use."

The rice-centered rural culture is showcased in another corner, where 12 landscapes and sculptures have been set up for visitors to promote local heritage.

A book corner, a world rice map, and a photo gallery also help visitors understand the rice production and procurement chain across the globe, he added.

The BRRI developed the BRRI-28 and BRRI-29 rice varieties in 1994 that fostered agricultural transformation in Bangladesh in a revolutionary way to address food security, he said, adding: “We have further developed the two varieties that can replace BRRI-28 and BRRI-29 in terms of food security.”

“The zinc fortified rice we developed and also display at the museum can help address the nutrition deficiency among children, including the stunting problem, dehydration-induced weakness, skin disease, and others,” he said.

The museum also houses the geographical indication (GI) certificate of the two Bangladeshi rice varieties -- namely Katiaribogh and Kalijira -- for visitors, as these are patented products of Bangladesh.

 Food corner and pest control

"There is a rice food corner and rice byproduct corner -- different types of rice-based food items including hundreds of locally popular cake items such as noodles and biscuits, and byproducts like rice bran oil, rice-based poultry feed, and rice husks," said the program director.

The museum also showcases 30 major rice pests and various weeds that grow in rice fields, said Momin.

It also displays a collection of insects and disease-infected paddy samples with descriptions of how paddies in the field became infected and also the remedies.

Samples and replicas of rice weeds growing in paddy fields that absorb soil nutrients as well as methods on how to control rice weeds are also on display, he said.

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