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CIMMYT and ICARDA wheat experts come together at El Batán

During 01-05 September 2008, CIMMYT El Batán hosted the ICARDA-CIMMYT wheat improvement program (ICWIP) meetings for Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA). Representatives from the two centers, as well as from regional offices, attended the meetings and discussed the joint research work plan. On Tuesday, the group visited CIMMYT’s Toluca experiment station, and on Friday they had a tour of El Batán facilities.

The ultimate aim of the meeting and project is to provide better products for national agricultural research systems. “CWANA is a highly diverse region where wheat production is constrained by most abiotic and biotic stresses,” said Hans Braun, director of CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program. “The region also includes countries with the highest per capita wheat consumption in the world. Wheat production is of immediate concern for food security.”

“We are looking for ways to complement each other,” said Richard Brettell, director for Biodiversity and Integrated Gene Management at ICARDA. “For instance, ICARDA has a strong insect group and CIMMYT is strong in physiology. As well, joint projects are more attractive to donors.” The group identified priority traits for germplasm improvement. Scientists also split up into ‘working groups’ to iron out the nitty-gritty details of shared projects, said Maarten van Ginkel, Deputy Director General for Research at ICARDA, who felt the meetings had been a great success.