Director of the Global Wheat Program
Through its Global Wheat Program, CIMMYT collaborates with national agricultural research institutions, non-governmental and community-based organizations, seed sector organizations, regional research networks, private companies, advanced research institutions and other CGIAR centers, to provide farmers the best seed, agronomy, training and information needed to increase yields.
Wheat provides 20 percent of the calories and protein people consume globally. An estimated 80 million farmers in the developing world rely on wheat for their livelihoods. Demand for wheat by 2050 is predicted to increase by 70 percent from today’s levels due to population growth and dietary changes, but the challenges to wheat production are stark and growing. The crop is at risk from new and more aggressive pests and diseases, diminishing water resources, limited available land and unstable weather conditions related to climate change.
Since its founding by the late U.S. scientist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug, CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program has provided elite breeding lines through its system of international nurseries to national breeding programs around the world. These wheat lines have been put through CIMMYT’s rigorous shuttle breeding system, which tests them in different locations and climate conditions. More than half of the wheat area in developing countries is sown with either straight CIMMYT introductions or derived from crosses with CIMMYT lines.
In addition to improving bread and durum wheat, the CIMMYT Global Wheat Program uses wild relatives of wheat to introduce such traits as drought tolerance and improved nutritional quality.
CIMMYT’s Wheat Molecular Marker Laboratory develops tools and information that breeders around the world are using to improve disease resistance, among other traits. CIMMYT’s Wheat Quality Laboratory ensures that CIMMYT wheat varieties meet market demands for flour and bread quality.
The Global Wheat Program works with more than 200 international research and breeding institutions, including the International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat.
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