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‘Regional and international collaboration necessary to ensure food security’

  • Published at 08:58 pm November 13th, 2019
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Last day of the three-day international conference at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate building of Dhaka University Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Dr Firdausi Qadri of icddr,b from Bangladesh awarded for her outstanding contribution to Plant and Food Sciences

Institutional capacity, regional and international collaboration, and the exchange of best practices among countries need to be strengthened to ensure agriculture and food security for meeting sustainable development goals (SDGs), speakers said at an international conference.

A three-day international conference regarding agriculture and food security for sustainable development goals was held at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate building of Dhaka University on Tuesday.

Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists (GNOBB) in association with Innovations in Plant and Food Sciences (IPFS) organized the event.

Speaking on the topic, Dr Wais Kabir, executive director of Krishi Gobeshona Foundation, said: "At present, the agriculture sector in Bangladesh is struggling with low profitability, shrinking land and water resources, migration of labor from agriculture, emergence of diseases and pests, poor post-harvest management, and low value addition."

"Climate risk associated crop loss is also posing a threat. While staples like rice, potato, vegetables, and maize are showing better growth performance, Bangladesh is still deficit in pulses, oilseed, spices, and wheat. Aquaculture and fisheries, are doing and are more profitable. However, disease outbreak remains a threat," Wais added.

"The present policy shift towards equality and nutritional security as well as protecting natural resources will require fixing research and development agenda," he further said.

The conference on "Molecular interventions for food, feed, health and environment” also aimed at brainstorming ideas and the findings of researchers in the “Plant and Agriculture” field.

A consortium of seven universities from Japan, China, Canada and Bangladesh is hosting their fourth 'innovations in plant and food sciences' and the 'international conference on biotechnology in health and agriculture,' in association with Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists (GNOBB) this year. 

Md Nazmul Ahsan, fisheries and livestock biotechnology faculty member of Fisheries and Marine Resource Technology emphasized biotechnology and nature based solutions for sustainable development of the shrimp subsector.

Prof Dr Md Anwar Hossain, vice-chancellor of Jessore University of Science and Technology (JUST) gave descriptions of milk-microbiomes implicated in bovine mastitis and their functional implications in cows.

"The application of a culture independent whole metagenome sequencing (WMS) approach would provide new insight into the identification and characterization of the microbiome associated with bovine clinical mastitis in their epidemiological niche,” he said.

 Their assessment throughout the infection process will ultimately allow us to formulate the most effective intervention strategies against this fearsome disease," he added.

During phytochemical analysis, Dr Jianchun Qin from College of Plant Science, Jilin University of China said, his research team summarized the study progress on the pigments of five kinds of colorful mushroom, including their chemical structure, biological activity, screening the fermentation conditions by strains, and optimization of high-efficiency industrial production technology of pigments.  

Presenting a paper on determination of Cadmium in different locations M Ashiqul Islam, teacher of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Department of Jahangirnagar University said: "In order to determine the concentration of heavy metals, nine different samples of soil (rice field and fodder field), water (drinking and irrigation), rice straw, fodder, cow dung, blood and milk were collected from five areas: Faridpur, Jessore, Narayanganj, Chadpur and Sirajganj. Collected samples were digested by Aqua regia-perchloric acid digestion method and analyzed by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS)."

"Though all the soil samples from all the studied locations contained Cadmium, the concentration of the element is less than the World Health Organization (WHO) standard 0.8ppm of Cadmium in soil. Water samples of Faridpur and Sirajganj had a richer amount of Cadmium than the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) standard 0.003ppm for drinking water," he said.

In recognition of outstanding contribution in research, GNOBB awarded Dr Firdausi Qadri of International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research from Bangladesh (icddr,b) and Dr Mohammad Nasir Uddin of Texas A&M University from USA in the 'outstanding Bangladeshi scientists working in Bangladesh’ and 'outstanding non-resident Bangladeshi scientists' categories respectively.

More than 30 foreign speakers from Japan, China, Canada, USA, UK, Malaysia, Germany, and India attended the conference on Wednesday.