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Martin Kropff at 9th International Wheat Conference

September 24, 2015


SYDNEY, Australia, Sept 25 (CIMMYT) – Despite the tremendous strides made in agricultural research since the Green Revolution, global food production must still double by 2050 in order to meet demand. As recently outlined by a panel of experts in a Lloyd’s Emerging Risk report, the growing pressure on the world’s agricultural capacities is increasingly putting the ability of the global food system to feed the poor at risk.

“The current food system is vulnerable to many threats such as drought, flooding and disease,” said Martin Kropff, Director General at the Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). “As we saw in the food price crisis of 2008, there is not enough resilience to the prospect of multiple shocks, which we know will become much more likely in the future due to climate change.”

Kropff gave the keynote address at the close of the 9th International Wheat Conference (IWC) in Sydney, Australia, which was held from September 20 to 25, 2015, where more than 500 delegates gathered to discuss how to address threats and improve the productivity of the world’s second most important food crop.

During the conference, Hans Braun, head of CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program and the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat, delivered a presentation on the impact of wheat improvement research in the world, while the 2014 World Food Prize laureate Sanjaya Rajaram detailed his views on how to increase annual wheat yield gains to the 1.7 percent that scientists project will be needed to feed the world by 2050.

“Governments and the private sector must more fully support research efforts into developing new wheat varieties or face the risk of further global insecurity related to price instability, hunger riots and related conflict,” Rajaram said.

“Investment in agricultural research pays a huge dividend,” Kropff said, referring to a new policy brief released during the conference. “CGIAR wheat research conducted mainly by CIMMYT and ICARDA has an annual benefit between $2.8 billion to $3.8 billion a year. This investment must be renewed if we are to create a more resilient agrifood system.”

“Investment in public research is a ‘triple win,’ leading to more food and income for the rural poor, lower prices for the urban poor, and extra stability and income for farmers in developed donor countries such as Australia where gains are tens of millions a year.”

“The free exchange of germplasm and use of genetic knowledge is essential to maximize the benefit we can derive from the genetic diversity housed within germplasm banks such
as CIMMYT. The public and private sector must also continue to expand their collaboration to develop and deploy the crop improvement technologies of the future.”


CIMMYT, headquartered in El Batan, Mexico, is the global leader in research for development in wheat and maize and wheat- and maize-based farming systems. CIMMYT works throughout the developing world with hundreds of partners to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat systems to improve food security and livelihoods.
CIMMYT is a member of the 15-member CGIAR Consortium and leads the Consortium Research Programs on Wheat and Maize. CIMMYT receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.

International Wheat Conference
September 20 – 25, 2015
Four Seasons Hotel
199 George St, Sydney,
NSW 2000, Australia
Social media:
Hashtag: #IWC9
Twitter: @CIMMYT

CIMMYT website: http://www.cimmyt.org
CGIAR website: http://www.cgiar.org

Media contact
Julie Mollins
Wheat Communications Officer
Global Wheat Program
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
E-mail: j.mollins@cgiar.org
Skype: juliemollins

Sam Storr
Communications Specialist to the Director General
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
E-mail: s.storr@cgiar.org