Wheat varietal releases worldwide

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In 2017, partners in 19 countries released 63 CGIAR-derived varieties.

Farmer adoption data from 2017 show that 79 CGIAR-derived winter varieties released between 2008 and 2017 are grown on 2.5 million ha in West and Central Asia. More than 70 wheat and other cereal varieties were tested and released during 2000-17 by the Kazakhstan-Siberian Network on Wheat Improvement (KASIB); in Kazakhstan alone, farmers grow wheat varieties from that work on almost of 6 million ha. Nine of those are CGIAR-derived varieties grown on 130,000 ha. A key challenge for wheat farmers in Kazakhstan, West Siberia and the Ural regions is to improve productivity as climate change and disease pressure mount.

In Ethiopia, emergency seed of improved varieties multiplied in response to catastrophic seed losses from the El Niño drought reached 271,000 rural households (1.6 million individuals) and was grown on 100,000 ha in the Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, and SNNP regions. Similarly, WHEAT partners provided Sub-Saharan African research programs with 20 tons of multiplication seed of improved varieties, via SARD-SC/Wheat innovation platforms.

Success fighting wheat blast in record time. Wheat blast, a mysterious and deadly disease from the Americas, unexpectedly infected wheat in southwestern Bangladesh in 2016. CIMMYT has played a pivotal role in global efforts to study and control blast, with funding from the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat (WHEAT), the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Moving quickly with USDA-ARS, Bangladesh and Bolivian partners, scientists developed a high-yielding, resistant variety that was released in Bangladesh as BARI Gom 33, which provides the additional benefit of high zinc content. BARI Gom 33 is being tested in India for possible release there.