During the Agriculture Research Coordination Meeting (ARCM), ARDC Bajo proposed a activity of conducting a hand-on rice breeding training to the young researchers of all ARDCs. As part of the national coordinated activity, ARDC Bajo is conducting 3 days training on rice crossing and variety development from 26-28 October 2019. A total of 12 participants from ARDCs Wengkhar, Samtenling, Yuesipang and Bajo and staff from NSC are attending the training. The Program Director of ARDC Bajo opened the training program. Mr. Mahesh Ghimiray, Rice Specialist and Breeder is the resource person for the training.

Rice breeding program in Bhutan started in mid 1980s and the country had its first formally released rice variety IR 64 in 1988. A total of 26 rice varieties have so far been developed and released in the country for different rice agro-ecologies. Of the total, 9 different rice varieties have been cross-bred and developed by Bhutanese researchers. Despite such efforts in the past, the rice breeding program saw a decline over the years. With most of the senior breeders and specialists going to exit from the system, an urgent need was felt to conduct such training on rice breeding to develop the capacity of young researchers. The main objectives of the training are to:

  • pass on the basic science on plant breeding and genetics to young researchers
  • revitalize rice breeding program in the country
  • train young researchers on rice crossing techniques and variety development
  • develop suitable varieties for Bhutanese conditions through crossing and improvement of local rice varieties

Given the importance of such training in the research system, ARDC Bajo plans to make it an annual event and seeks support of the Department of Agriculture and ARDCs.