New multinational wheat initiative aims to raise global yields and develop new varieties

3rd Dec 2012

Long-term initiative plans to invest US$50-75M in first five years

Representatives from governmental and non-governmental organisations across the world have agreed to establish a new multinational initiative - the Wheat Yield Network (WYN). The Network will support research and development activities to raise global wheat yields and develop new varieties adapted to different geographical regions.

The WYN has been established within the framework of the G20 sponsored Wheat Initiative.

The WYN has been instigated by BBSRC (UK), USAID (USA) and CIMMYT (Mexico) and was launched at a meeting in Mexico City sponsored by SAGARPA (Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development, Fisheries and Food). The meeting was opened by the Mexican Minister of Agriculture, Francisco Javier Mayorga Castañeda.

The WYN will be a truly global endeavour that utilises a new collaborative approach to bring together funding from governmental and non-governmental public bodies and the private sector, to support both core infrastructure and facilities alongside transnational open calls for research, all targeted at raising the yield potential of wheat.

Wheat provides some 20% of the global calories consumed by mankind yet production faces myriad pressures such as climate change and changes in land use; all of which are compounded by the overriding pressure to feed a burgeoning global population.

The WYN is a long-term endeavour and aims to raise the yield potential of wheat through sustainable approaches by up to 50% over the next twenty years.

Steve Visscher, Deputy Chief Executive of BBSRC, said: "Wheat is one of the world's most important staple crops but it is under great pressure at a time when we need to find ways to feed our growing global population whilst also adapting to climate. The challenge of increasing yields and developing new varieties is too big for any one agency or country to meet. By working together, sharing infrastructure, expertise and results, the partners in the Wheat Yield Initiative believe we can make a greater impact."

The partners in the Network have agreed to work together in a unique way. The Network will include Government bodies, NGOs and, in the near future, private sector companies. All the partners are committed to transparency, collaboration, open communication of results and data sharing and coordination to maximise global impact and eliminate duplication of effort.

The WYN is a long-term initiative with a twenty year ambition. Over the first five years the partners are planning to invest US$50-75M.

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