Wheat research

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Demand for wheat by 2050 is predicted to increase by 50 percent from today’s levels. Meanwhile, the crop is at risk from new and more aggressive pests and diseases, diminishing water resources, limited available land and unstable weather conditions — heat in particular.

CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program is one of the most important public sources of high yielding, nutritious, disease- and climate-resilient wheat varieties for Africa, Asia, and Latin America. CIMMYT breeding lines can be found in varieties sown on more than 60 million hectares worldwide.

Through this program, CIMMYT works with more than 200 research and breeding institutions, including the International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat (WHEAT), sharing elite breeding lines and associated data through its system of international nurseries.

The Wheat Molecular Breeding laboratory develops tools and information for breeders around the world. The Wheat Quality laboratory ensures that CIMMYT varieties meet market demands for flour and bread quality.

CIMMYT’s wheat research aims to:

  • Develop climate resilient, nutritious, high yielding disease and pest tolerant wheat lines.
  • Use the latest molecular breeding tools, bioinformatics and selection methods.
  • Ensure that national agricultural research system partners are active participants in breeding.
  • Apply more precise phenotyping approaches — phenotyping platforms — and other tools, like remote sensing, to develop genetically diverse wheat varieties so that globally, annual genetic yield gains of at least 0.7 percent are achieved.
  • Provide diverse, high-yielding wheat varieties that withstand infertile soils, drought, pests and diseases.
  • Conduct research to help farmers exploit the full potential of improved seed while conserving soil and water resources.
  • Explore new market opportunities for smallholder farmers.
  • Provide training opportunities in wheat breeding and crop management research.
  • Exploit genetic variation in wheat wild relatives.

CIMMYT led the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat (WHEAT) from January 2012 through December 2021.

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Wheat Projects

tag iconCapacity development, Climate adaptation and mitigation,
tag iconEnvironmental health and biodiversity
tag iconInnovations, Nutrition, health and food security
tag iconEnvironmental health and biodiversity, Innovations
tag iconEnvironmental health and biodiversity, Innovations
tag iconEnvironmental health and biodiversity