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New multinational wheat initiative aims to raise global yields and develop new varieties

30 November 2012

  • Long-term initiative plans to invest US$50-75M in first five years

Representatives from governmental and non-governmental organisations across the world have agreed to establish a new multinational initiative - the Wheat Yield Network (WYN). The Network will support research and development activities to raise global wheat yields and develop new varieties adapted to different geographical regions.

The WYN has been established within the framework of the G20 sponsored Wheat Initiative.

The WYN has been instigated by BBSRC (UK), USAID (USA) and CIMMYT (Mexico) and was launched at a meeting in Mexico City sponsored by SAGARPA (Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development, Fisheries and Food). The meeting was opened by the Mexican Minister of Agriculture, Francisco Javier Mayorga Castañeda.

The WYN will be a truly global endeavour that utilises a new collaborative approach to bring together funding from governmental and non-governmental public bodies and the private sector, to support both core infrastructure and facilities alongside transnational open calls for research, all targeted at raising the yield potential of wheat.

Wheat provides some 20% of the global calories consumed by mankind yet production faces myriad pressures such as climate change and changes in land use; all of which are compounded by the overriding pressure to feed a burgeoning global population.

The WYN is a long-term endeavour and aims to raise the yield potential of wheat through sustainable approaches by up to 50% over the next twenty years.

Steve Visscher, Deputy Chief Executive of BBSRC, said: "Wheat is one of the world's most important staple crops but it is under great pressure at a time when we need to find ways to feed our growing global population whilst also adapting to climate. The challenge of increasing yields and developing new varieties is too big for any one agency or country to meet. By working together, sharing infrastructure, expertise and results, the partners in the Wheat Yield Initiative believe we can make a greater impact."

The partners in the Network have agreed to work together in a unique way. The Network will include Government bodies, NGOs and, in the near future, private sector companies. All the partners are committed to transparency, collaboration, open communication of results and data sharing and coordination to maximise global impact and eliminate duplication of effort.

The WYN is a long-term initiative with a twenty year ambition. Over the first five years the partners are planning to invest US$50-75M.


Notes to editors

The following organisations were represented at this first meeting of the Wheat Yield Network:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Canada
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Australia
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), United Kingdom
  • Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), China
  • Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), International
  • Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Argentina
  • Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom
  • Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA), Brazil
  • General Directorate of Agricultural Research (GDAR), Turkey
  • Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Germany
  • Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), Australia
  • Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA), United Kingdom
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), India
  • Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales y Agropecuarias/ La Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (INIFAP/ SAGARPA), Mexico
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), France
  • Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Japan
  • National Research Council Canada (NRC), Canada
  • Syngenta Foundation, Switzerland
  • The Agriculture and Food Development Authority (TEAGASC), Ireland
  • United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS), USA
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID), USA

About the Wheat Yield Network

About The Wheat Initiative

The Wheat Initiative aims to reinforce synergies between bread and durum wheat national and international research programmes to increase food security, nutritional value and safety while taking into account societal demands for sustainable and resilient agricultural production systems. For more information see:


BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £500M (2012-2013), we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see:
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: