Author Archive

Pakistan Wheat Farmers Call for Quality Seed of the Right Varieties

Pakistani farmer (2)

A Pakistani farmer carries seed of a new wheat variety for on-farm testing. Photo: Anju Joshi

By Krishna Dev Joshi, Katie Lutz and Mike Listman/CIMMYT

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (February 13, 2015)- Lack of access to seed of improved wheat varieties is holding back harvests of smallholder wheat farmers in remote areas of Punjab, Pakistan, a group of farmers told representatives of seed companies, input dealers and research, extension and development organizations, at a workshop last fall in Chakwal, Punjab, Pakistan.

“Ninety-five percent of farmers in Pothwar, a semiarid region of bare and broken terrain, use farm-saved seed of outdated varieties, invariably with limited use of modern agricultural technologies and inputs, resulting in poor crop establishment and low yields,” said Krishna Dev Joshi, CIMMYT wheat improvement specialist based in Pakistan and who helped organize the workshop. “Their yields average only 0.6 tons per hectare, compared to progressive farmers in irrigated areas who harvest ten times that amount.”

Joshi explained that the same three wheat varieties cover 83 percent of the region and have been used for the past 24 years. “One of these, C591, is a variety that was recommended in 1934 and is still grown on about 14 percent of the region’s nearly 0.6 million hectares of wheat area.”

Web Version of 2013 Annual Report NOW Available

CoverThe CGIAR Research Program on Wheat’s 2013 Annual Report is now available in an online and interactive format. The 2013 report, Wheat: The Vital Grain of Civilization and Food Security, highlights the very active year of the WHEAT CRP. Stories in the annual report focus on partner relationships, diverse programs and the greatest triumphs and challenges seen by WHEAT in 2013.

Wheat: The Vital Grain of Civilization and Good Security can be viewed on any mobile or web device at annualreport2013.wheat.org. A PDF version of the 2013 annual report can also be viewed here.

Rising Temperatures, Falling Wheat Yields

Ranak Martin/CIMMYT

Photo: Ranak Martin/CIMMYT

By Katie Lutz/CIMMYT 

EL BATAN, Mexico (January 22, 2016)- Global temperatures are projected to increase 2 to 4 degrees C by the end of the century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Rising temperatures reduce global wheat production,” a recent study published in the leading science journal, Nature Climate Change, discusses the work of 50 scientists from 15 countries stating that this increase in temperature will be a huge threat to wheat yields. Through use of 30 crop models and data from field experiments, these scientists found that rising temperatures are already reducing global wheat production.

Their main finding was that, for every 1 degree C increase in growing season mean temperatures, wheat production decreases by six percent — equivalent to a worldwide loss of 42 million tons of grain.

Dr. Hans Braun

Hans-Joachim BraunDirector, WHEAT CRP and CIMMYT Global Wheat Program, Mexico

Braun has served as the Director of CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program since 2006, Braun has an M.S. from the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim and a Ph.D. from the University of Hohenheim. His achievements include contributing to the development and release of 44 winter wheat varieties grown on nearly 1.5 million hectares in Central and West Asia, and he is the main author or co-author on more than 120 scientific articles, including 36 in refereed journals. In 2003 he received the Chinese Friendship Award for his contributions to wheat improvement in Gansu Province.

Dr. Paul Struik

Director General, Professor of Crop Physiology, Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Professor Paul C. Struik is a Full Professor of Crop Physiology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and head of this University’s Centre for Crop Systems Analysis. He obtained an M.Sc in Agronomy and a Ph.D in Agricultural Sciences from Wageningen University. His fields of expertise include: crop systems biology, photosynthesis, resource-use efficiency, seed systems, agrobiodiversity and the synergy between natural and social sciences.

Professor Struik is the author and co-author of many publications including most recently “Deconstructing and unpacking scientific controversies in intensification and sustainability: why the tensions in concepts and values?” in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability” (2014) and “Increasing homogeneity in global food supplies and the implications for food security” (2014) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

He is on the editorial board of several international scientific journals including Editor in Chief of Potato Research (1990 – present); Editor of Annals of Applied Biology (2004 until present) and Academic editor of PLoS ONE (2014 until present). He is a member of the Council of the European Association for Potato Research and in 2014, he was recognized for the Outstanding Paper on Plant Genetic Resources from the Crop Science Society of America.

WHEAT Takes on Heat and Drought at HeDWIC

Njoro-2014

Photo: J.Mollins/CIMMYT

By Katie Lutz/CIMMYT

EL BATAN, Mexico (December 10, 2014)- Have you been experiencing extreme heat? Everlasting droughts? And still don’t think climate change is affecting agriculture, the earth or you during this lifetime?

WHEAT has noticed and we see that  climate change is currently contributing to warmer temperatures and producing erratic rainfall causing intense heat and immense droughts worldwide.  Heat and drought have become the main causes of wheat and plant yield loss globally, in both developing and developed countries. Scientists predict this issue will only get worse in the next few years and will largely contribute to world hunger, unless immediate action is taken.

A team of more than 100 scientists met 1-4 December 2014 to discuss a worldwide plan to resolve the yield loss problems being caused by heat and drought at the Heat and Drought Wheat Improvement Consortium(HeDWIC.) Funded by WHEAT, HeDWIC will explore and address issues in food security challenges as part of a 15- to 20-year global partnership.

“We’ve laid the foundations for a successful research venture that will help farmers and many of the world’s most marginalized people living in some of the most difficult environmental conditions. From here, we’ll produce a comprehensive road map,” said Hans Braun, director of CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program on HeDWIC.

You can read a full recap of HeDWIC on the CIMMYT website.

New Study Will Focus on Gender Norms and Wheat-based Livelihoods in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Pakistan

WheatGenderWebsitePhoto

By Katie Lutz/CIMMYT

EL BATAN, Mexico (November 12, 2014)- In a newly-funded project, WHEAT will explore how the differing roles and rights of women, men and youth influence wheat research and development impacts in three nations whose inhabitants depend heavily on the crop for protein, carbohydrates and livelihoods.

Funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the project “Understanding gender in wheat-based livelihoods for enhanced WHEAT research for development (R4D) impact in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Ethiopia” will seek evidence to promote an appreciation of gender integration and social inclusion, as an opportunity to enhance impact. There is ample literature on gender and agriculture, but less on studies that explore gender and social equity issues relating to wheat-based livelihoods, according to Lone Badstue, CIMMYT’s strategic leader for gender research and mainstreaming

WHEAT Celebrates the International Day of Rural Women

J.Cumes/CIMMYT

Photo: J.Cumes/CIMMYT

By Katie Lutz/CIMMYT

EL BATAN, Mexico (October 15, 2014)- Each year, 16 October is recognized worldwide as the International Day of Rural Women. The United Nations (UN) states that the role and contribution of rural women is crucial in enhancing agriculture and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

According to the World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report, women comprise 43 percent of the agricultural workforce worldwide. Gender affects wheat production in many low- and middle-income countries, where women in villages lack legal rights or face social or cultural exclusion from access to land, information, credit or new technologies.

“Research has shown that women spend more of their resources on children than do men,” said Lone Badstue, strategic leader for gender research and mainstreaming in CIMMYT’s socioeconomic program. “Improving women’s access to resources can directly benefit children’s wellbeing and development. In fact, a 2011 report from FAO states that providing women farmers with equitable access to resources and thus bringing their yields up to the levels achieved by men could remove as many as 150 million people from the ranks of the undernourished.”

Gender and social equity are key development issues in South Asia, a region that is home to half the world’s poor and where wheat is a major crop, but where there has been little research on the role of gender in wheat-based cropping systems. “We lack evidence about which groups are poor and excluded and about the nature of their production, consumption and marketing issues,” said Tahseen Jafry, a professor at Glasgow Caledonian University, UK, who specializes in gender and justice issues associated with climate change and agriculture. “But such groups clearly need better ways to access, adapt, adopt and apply new knowledge about technologies, institutions, policies and markets, so they can fully benefit from new developments.”

World Food Prize Honors CIMMYT’s Bram Govaerts with the “2014 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application”

Bram Govaerts Machine

By Katie Lutz/CIMMYT

EL BATAN, Mexico (September 18, 2014)- Dr. Bram Govaerts,  associate director of CIMMYT’s global conservation agricultural program and leader of a joint CIMMYT-government of Mexico major initiative known as the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro), will receive the 2014 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation. The Award was announced by U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, World Food Prize President, at the USAID Frontiers in Development Forum in Washington, D.C., on 18 September, and will be given as part of the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue international symposium on 15 October. It recognizes work by a researcher under 40 years old who emulates the scientific innovation and dedication to food security practiced by 1970 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Norman Borlaug.