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USDA announces $3.4m funding through IWYP programme

15 December 2015  •  Author(s): Victoria White

The US Department for Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of $3.4 million in funding for research projects in support of the new International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) programme.

iwyp

The announcement was made by US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“Wheat is one of the world’s most important staple crops, providing a significant amount of daily calories and protein throughout the world,” said Secretary Vilsack. “By 2050, the demand for wheat as part of a reliable, affordable, and nutritious diet will grow alongside the world population, and continued wheat research will play an important role in ensuring its continued availability.”

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 must 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 2007-08 and 2011 are likely to be repeated if wheat production falls short of demand.

IWYP aims to develop new wheat varieties

The new International Wheat Yield Partnership programme seeks to enhance agriculture research that can benefit the global community and support the G20 nations’ Wheat Initiative with the key aims of enhancing the genetic component of wheat yield and developing new wheat varieties that are adaptable to different geographical regions and environmental conditions. The programmes priorities will focus on breakthroughs for wheat breeding using new technologies and also discoveries that lead to significantly greater yield; further, applications that demonstrate coordination and collaboration with international partners are encouraged.

Along with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the international partners involved with IWYP include the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom (BBSRC); Grains Research and Development Corporation of Australia (GRDC); Department of Biotechnology of India (DBT), from Mexico, the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT); Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC); from France, the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA); and from Switzerland, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA).

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