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Wheat conference to begin today

July 21, 2019

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SASKATOON (Canada): Amid global efforts to intensify the nutritional value and scale of wheat production, scientists from all major wheat growing regions in the world are gathering in Saskatoon for the first International Wheat Congress starting here from July 21 (Sunday).

More than 800 global experts will gather in Saskatoon, the city at the heart of Canada’s western wheat growing province, Saskatchewan, to strategise on ways to meet projected nutritional needs of 60 per cent more people by 2050

The six-day congress is the first major gathering of the wheat community since the 2015 International Wheat Conference in Sydney. The CGIAR Research Programme on Wheat (WHEAT), led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), is a founding member of the G20 Wheat Initiative, a co-host of the conference.

“We must solve a complex puzzle,” said CIMMYT Director-General, Martin Kropff. “Wheat must feed more people while growing sustainably on less land. Wheat demand is predicted to increase 60pc in the next three decades, while climate change is putting an unprecedented strain on production,” he said.

“The scientific community is tackling this challenge head-on, through global collaboration, germplasm exchange and innovative approaches. Researchers are looking at wheat’s temperature response mechanisms and using remote sensing, genomics, bio-informatics and other technologies to make wheat more tolerant to heat and drought,” Kropff said.

Research shows that about 70pc of spring bread and durum wheat varieties released in developing countries between 1994 and 2014 were bred or derive from wheat lines developed by scientists working for the CGIAR. Worldwide, more than 60pc of released varieties are related to CIMMYT or ICARDA germ-plasm.

Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2019