International Winter Wheat Improvement Program (IWWIP) is a joint enterprise between the government of Turkey, CIMMYT and the International Center for Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA). The main objective of the program is to develop winter/facultative wheat germplasm for the region of Central and West Asia. IWWIP also facilitates the winter wheat germplasm exchange for the global breeding community. The program was established in the mid-1980s by Turkey and CIMMYT to breed wither wheat. ICARDA joined in 1991 integrating facultative wheat breeding activities in Syria.
IWWIP is jointly supported by Turkey, CIMMYT and ICARDA. The program is governed by the steering committee. Three coordinators from Turkey (Yüksel Kaya), CIMMYT (Alex Morgounov) and ICARDA (Mesut Keser) provide technical leadership. The day-to-day operations are managed by the CIMMYT-ICARDA office in the capital Ankara. Jim Petersen leads the IWWIP nurseries multiplication and distribution at Oregon State University.
- Breeding winter/facultative wheat varieties suitable for the region conducted at several research institutes of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Turkey and at ICARDA-Syria.
- Germplasm development of irrigated and dryland conditions.
- Interested breeding programs submit their material to IWWIP for inclusion into international testing. IWWIP reserves the right to select the varieties or breeding lines for international distribution based on performance in Turkey.
- Distribution of introduced germplasm through Observation nurseries that are distributed globally and comprising more than around 100 entries each. The International Nurseries are distributed on request.
- Distribution of introduced germplasm through small amount of seed that is supplied for each entry allowing for visual selection. Yield trials are normally distributed regionally and planted as replicated trials to obtain yield and other relevant data.
- Developed germplasm has been utilized as parents for crosses and as varieties. At least 42 varieties from IWWIP were released in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
- The Winter Wheat Breeding Program conducted at Oregon State University obtains germplasm from Turkey one year before, multiplies it and sends it to interested cooperators easing challenges associated with seed movement in the region.