The successful decoding of local jute varieties along with that of Tosha jute three years back will usher in a new horizon for jute quality improvement and diversification of jute goods, observed the scientists working behind the gigantic achievement for the country.
They said at a press conference at the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) in the capital yesterday.
The scientists working under the Basic and Applied Research on Jute Project (BARJ) also noted that it will take at least five years to complete the lab researches before undertaking the task of variety jute variety development.
BARJ team leader Prof Maqsudul Alam said the landmark inventions will enable the scientists to overcome the barriers to the conventional breeding being felt for a long time.
“In Bangladesh, we’ve been conducting cross-hybridisatin over the last 40-50 years. We can’t move forward anymore without improving the scientific knowledge in this regard,” he said.
The BARJ team has also cracked the genome sequence of the most harmful fungal pathogen (Macrophomina phaseolina) for jute last year, he said.
The combination of all the gene sequencing accomplished by the team will now enable us to develop high quality as well as disease-free local varieties which are comparatively softer than the Tosha varieties and are more suitable for industrial use, added Maqsudul.
Speaking on the occasion BARJ project director M Kamal Uddin, who is also the BJRI director general, said although the local jute is friendlier for industrial use because of its good-blending quality, the diseases and low productivity have gradually led to the decline in the local jute cultivation in the country.
The genome sequencing will help boost the production of disease-free local jute in near future, he said.
Kamal Uddin also noted that if the mandatory jute packaging act of the country is properly implemented, it will be in lack of about 15 lakh bales of raw jute. If the internal use of jute is promoted, it will also increase the bargaining power of jute exporters, he said.
The press conference was also attended by Prof Ahmed Shamsul Islam, one of the pioneers of biotechnological research on jute.