The International Winter Wheat Improvement Program (Turkey- CIMMYT-ICARDA) conducted a traveling seminar in Ukraine during 08-13 June 2009 to learn about wheat research and breeding in the country and strengthen international and regional cooperation on winter wheat. The seminar attracted 62 participants from 19 countries, even with scientists covering their own travel costs to Ukraine. The group assembled in Kiev for visits to the Ukrainian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Institute of Genetics and Physiology, and the Mironovka Wheat Institute.
Then the group traveled by bus to Odessa (500 km) to see the Breeding and Genetics Institute. “All participants were impressed by the level of research and breeding they saw,” says Alexey Morgounov, Global Wheat Program breeder based in Turkey, who led the seminar. “Experimental and production fields were well maintained and the crop diversity was very interesting.” Ukraine produces almost twice as much wheat as it consumes and plays an important role in the region’s food security. New, locally-bred varieties characterized by high yield potential, good grain quality, and good disease resistance contribute to this success. At the concluding session the group developed proposals to enhance regional cooperation in breeding for drought, rust resistance, and grain quality, and in networking. “We especially appreciated our hosts’ hospitality and good logistics,” says Morgounov.