Global wheat science and partnerships for food security and nutrition: 2014 annual report, CGIAR Research Program on Wheat

Global wheat science seeks secure support to counter food insecurity: message from the program director

For WHEAT, 2014 was another year of achievements and recognition. A 2014 report by the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences showed that CIMMYT germplasm had increased China wheat productivity by 14 percent over three decades, and preliminary results of a study to be published in 2015 place the returns on investments in CGIAR wheat research at around a hundred to one, confirming outcomes of previous impact reports. A survey covering 37 countries showed R&D partners’ appreciation of the local presence and in-depth understanding of CIMMYT and ICARDA researchers. A major donor-funded review of CIMMYT’s wheat breeding program noted the success of the International Wheat Improvement Network and considered capacity development among the program’s key comparative advantages. A former WHEAT scientist received the 2014 World Food Prize. CIMMYT and ICARDA agreed to operate their wheat research activities as a single joint program, as of 2015.

The deadly force of hunger

Demand for wheat is predicted to rise 60 percent by 2050. Despite this, resources for publicly-funded wheat research barely support essential breeding and capacity-building activities. Financing for critical new technologies, such as advanced phenotyping platforms, is hard to find. Typically it takes more than a decade for a variety to go from initial crosses to farmers’ fields. The research and institutional capacities to achieve this also take years to develop, but can be lost overnight in the absence of committed policy support and consistent and secure funding.

In developing countries, wheat feeds around 1.2 billion people who live on less than US$ 2 a day—those are the people that WHEAT helps and, as we have seen, food insecurity drastically affects their welfare; either through malnutrition, high food prices, or social conflicts that send refugees into flight. Let’s not wait until the next crisis to renew investment in the work that has revolutionized wheat farming and saved hundreds of millions of people in the developing world from hunger.

Hans-Joachim Braun

Director, WHEAT

"The quality of WHEAT science and the commitment of partners have produced historic benefits for smallholder farmers and wheat consumers worldwide." -Victor kommerell, WHeAT program manaMger

Global partnership propels wheat productivity in china

Boosting wheat production in Africa to stem costly imports

Precision land leveling saves water in South Asia

Understanding gender, strengthening research

What do 92 wheat PartnerS want from international agricultural research?

This year in wheat

Financial Highlights

  • Flagship project 1 - Maximizing value for money, and social inclusivity thru prioritizing WHEAT R4D investments.
  • Flagship project 2 - Novel diversity and tools to adapt to climate change and resource constraints.
  • Flagship project 3 - Global partnerships to accelerate genetic gains in farmers’ fields.
  • Flagship project 4 - Sustainable intensification of wheat-based cropping systems.
  • Flagship project 5 - Human and institutional capacities for seed systems and scaling-out; a new generation of wheat scientists.

WHEAT is a CGIAR Research Program launched in 2012 and led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Coupling advanced science with field-level research and extension in lower- and middle-income countries, WHEAT works to raise wheat productivity, production and affordable availability for 2.5 billion resource-poor consumers who depend on the crop as a staple food. Partners include the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the British Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and a community of more than 200 public and private organizations worldwide, among them national governments, companies, international centers, regional and local agencies and farmers. Funding for WHEAT comes from CGIAR and generous donors including national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.

PRINCIPAL WRITING/EDITING: Mike Listman, Geneviève Renard, Katie Lutz, Katelyn Roett, Ashwamegh Banerjee. CONTRIBUTORS: Solomon Gizaw Assefa, Matthew Audley, Lone Badstue, Clyde Beaver, Hans Braun, Anuradha Dhar, Zhonghu He, Jikun Huang, Julie Mollins, Muhammad Imtiaz, Nina Jakobi, Moti Jaleta, M.L. Jat, Arun Joshi, Victor Kommerell, Petr Kosina, Alexey Morgounov, Rajiv Sharma, Miriam Shindler, Sam Storr, Claudia Velasco, Garry Rosewarne, Patrick Yadav, Bosen Zhou. LAYOUT: Katie Lutz PHOTOGRAPHERS: Ashwamegh Banerjee, Clyde Beaver, Iván Vázquez Cruz, Julia Cumes, Etienne Duveiller, Xochiquetzal Fonseca, ML Jat, Petr Kosina, Mike Listman, Ranak Martin, Garry Rosewarne, Alfredo Saénz, Sam Storr, CIMMYT archives.

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