Coordinate wheat research and contribute to food security across the globe
- Launched (PDF 211KB) on the 15 September 2011
- Proposed (PDF 261KB) by research and funding organisations from several countries
- Supported by G20 Agricultural Ministers (PDF 178KB) to contribute to improving world food security
Wheat is one of the main staple crops in the world and provides 20% of daily protein and calories. It is the second most important food crop in the developing world after rice. In the past decades, wheat production levels did not satisfy demand, triggering price instability and hunger riots.
With a world population of 9 billion in 2050, wheat demand is expected to increase by 70%. To meet the demand, annual wheat yield increases must grow from the current level of below 1% to at least 1.7%.
The Wheat Initiative aims to reinforce synergies between bread and durum wheat national and international research programmes to increase food security, nutritional value and safety while taking into account societal demands for sustainable and resilient agricultural production systems.
Strengthening coordination of world wheat research
The Wheat Initiative will coordinate worldwide research efforts in the fields of wheat genetics, genomics, physiology, breeding and agronomy.
All countries share the need to increase wheat yield, tolerance to abiotic stresses, pathogens and pests, as well as to improve input use efficiency for a more sustainable wheat production. Improved agronomic practises and development of innovative cropping systems are also a priority.
The Wheat Initiative will provide a forum to facilitate communication between research groups and organisations worldwide.
It will identify potential synergies and encourage collaborations among major existing or emerging wheat research programmes (regional, national, international, public or private). It will also support the development of publicly available integrated databases and platforms and establish and periodically update priorities for wheat research of global relevance.
The Wheat Initiative aims to foster communication between the research community, funders and global policy makers at the international level to meet their research and development goals.
Achieving the following will hopefully secure and enhance long term funding of wheat research in support of global well-being:
- Better understanding of the strategic orientations and funding needs as recommended by the research community
- Improved knowledge among the funders of their current research and development investments and future plans
- Opportunity to work together
Sharing resources, methods and expertise to improve and stabilise yields
Efforts to decipher the wheat genome sequence, and development of high throughput genotyping and phenotyping platforms, will provide new opportunities for public and private breeders to better characterize and exploit the available genetic diversity and create new wheat varieties.
Development and adoption of precise and site-specific management techniques will lead to the improvement of production systems. The Wheat Initiative will facilitate and ensure the rapid exchange of information and know-how among researchers, and support knowledge transfer to breeders and farmers.
These actions will lead to the creation of improved wheat varieties and to the dissemination of better agronomic practises worldwide. These should allow farmers to stably produce more and better wheat in diverse production environments thus promoting global food security.
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