POST TIME: 6 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 5 July, 2018 09:54:02 PM
Combating rice blast disease

Combating rice 
blast disease

Agriculture is the mainstay of Bangladesh economy. Rice is the staple food of the Bangladeshis. It is heartening to note that rice production in Bangladesh has increased remarkably in recent years. Credit goes to the farmers and agriculture scientists for increasing rice production. This trend must be upheld at any cost. The setbacks obstructing rice production should also be removed.                       

Paddy scientists and researchers while addressing a regional workshop titled “Blast Disease and Its Management in Aromatic Rice in Transplanted Aman Season” in Rajshahi city yesterday underscored the need for acquiring updated knowledge for a proper management of blast disease in aromatic rice in transplanted Aman season.

It is pertinent to mention here that the field level extension officials and others concerned should be equipped and enriched with modern ideas so that they can manage the disease for boosting rice production in the greater interest of food security. According to experts, the disease has emerged in the country due to adverse impact of climate change.

Rice blast disease caused by Pyricularia oryzae Cavara is one of the major factors limiting rice yield throughout the world. This pathogen infects all developmental stages and all organs of the rice plant. Outbreaks of the disease are a recurrent problem and are extremely difficult to control in all rice-growing regions of the world, including Bangladesh. Bangladesh has experienced several epidemic outbreaks of blast disease since 1980 hampering rice production, including that of aromatic rice varieties.  In both rainfed and irrigated lowlands, rice varieties were highly susceptible to blast disease.

Breeding rice cultivars resistant to blast disease is the most eco-friendly and economic approach to managing the disease. However, because of the continuous generation of new pathogenic races, cultivars released as resistant have often shown high levels of susceptibility within a few years of their release. Based on the gene-for-gene theory, outbreaks can be explained in terms of the relationships between virulence genes in the blast fungus and resistance genes in rice cultivars.

To understand the mechanisms behind outbreaks of resistant blast disease and the build-up of a durable protection system in rice cultivars, knowledge of the population structure and diversity of the blast pathogen is important. It is the responsibility of the agriculture department to take remedial measures. The field-level officials and staff concerned should remain vigil to detect the menace for its early management. Generation of awareness among farmers is also needed.