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New international partnership aims to unlock wheat's potential
Date:3/25/2014

A new international partnership aims to increase wheat yields by 50 percent by 2034. This will address demand for wheat one of the world's most important crops that is growing much faster than production.

The new International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) brings together research funders, international aid agencies, foundations, companies and major wheat research organizations. It was launched at the Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security in Ciudad Obregn, Mexico. The Summit marked the 100th birthday of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, credited with sparking the agricultural 'Green Revolution' of the 1960's and helping to save over one billion people from starvation.

Steve Visscher, Chair of the IWYP board of founding partners and BBSRC Deputy Chief Executive said: "We need a collective global approach to make more wheat available. It is the most widely grown staple food crop and new varieties with increased yield will be vital to feed the world's growing population."

The world's population is estimated to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 and wheat production will have a crucial role in food security and the global economy. The World Bank estimates that global wheat production will have to increase by 60 percent between 2000 and 2050 to meet rising demand. However wheat yield increases in developed nations have slowed since 1990. Politically destabilising wheat price spikes seen in 2007-8 and 2011 are likely to be repeated if wheat production falls short of demand.

The IWYP research program provides a unique vehicle for new discoveries and their speedy incorporation into wheat crops grown throughout the world. It will stimulate new research, amplify the output from existing programs, and make scientific discoveries available to farmers in developing and developed nations.

"By working together, IWYP members will enable scientific breakthroughs that are out of reach via existing mechanisms," added Vi
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Contact: Rob Dawson
rob.dawson@bbsrc.ac.uk
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert  

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