During the years 2005-08 there were several two and three-month comprehensive wheat improvement/pathology training programs at El Batán, Toluca, and the Ciudad Obregón research stations, with more than 40 participants from Asia and Africa. And this year CIMMYT’s headquarters hosted another long-term, in-service training course. Seventeen participants from 10 countries, including two women, attended the course “Wheat Improvement Course 2009,” which ran from 03 August to 02 October.
“I’m very happy to see you all here and that the training program at CIMMYT has been restarted,” said DG Tom Lumpkin at the course’s closing ceremony. “I hope we can continue to strengthen this type of training, make it longer and more intensive, and involve more participants in the coming years.”
The course focused on wheat breeding and taught participants how to run a wheat breeding program, apply new forms of wheat technology, and confidently participate in joint interdisciplinary¡ research. “The fields are the classroom…and are where we illustrate the application of theory,” said Reynaldo Villareal, coordinator of the course and adjunct professor of plant breeding and international agriculture at Cornell University. Nearly 55% of the course involved fieldwork at the El Batán and Toluca research stations. As a former CIMMYT wheat breeder, Villareal was able to arrange a diverse and demanding course schedule that, in addition to breeding, included pathology, physiology, molecular biology, industrial quality, bioinformatics, statistics, conservation agriculture, and geographic information systems.
“I’m very grateful to CIMMYT and everyone who helped with this course,” said Vinod Kumar Mishra, course participant and professor of genetics and wheat breeding at Banaras Hindu University, India (pictured second from right). “Wheat is the second largest crop in India, and India is the second largest wheat producer after China, so training for wheat breeders is extremely important for our country,” he said. Other countries represented included Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, Bangladesh, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, China, and Sudan.
“Wheat improvement is an interdisciplinary collaboration,” Villareal said. “I hope CIMMYT can sustain similar training.”