The Director of CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program, Hans Braun, visited Syngenta in Basel, Switzerland, on 10 October 2011, to present CIMMYT’s current work towards achieving global food security. CIMMYT and Syngenta began collaborating in April 2010, and have been working together to develop multiple projects focused on Ug99 and wheat research activities.
During the presentation, Braun highlighted the need for increased investment in agriculture to address threats to food security, such as emerging diseases. He also stressed the need to further develop and utilize genetic diversity to feed the growing global population. Braun referred to Ug99 as the ‘Bird Flu’ of wheat, in reference to its devastating impact on wheat crops, and its high virulence. He urged the scientific community to focus on the development of durable resistance in wheat, stating that 50% of CIMMYT’s wheat research is focused on maintaining disease resistance alone.
When asked about the nature of public-private partnerships and CIMMYT’s interaction with Syngenta, Braun said: “Why is CIMMYT here? We don’t want to help Syngenta to increase its production in Germany, but we want to look into how we can work together to use some of the technologies for our clients, which are the poor farmers in developing countries. CIMMYT has some contributions which Syngenta can use so it’s really a win-win situation.”
CIMMYT and Syngenta will be expanding their areas of collaboration by developing new projects on rust control, hybrid wheat, heat tolerance and crop enhancement.