Press Release: FFAR Grant Develops Climate-Resilient Wheat
FFAR + CIMMYT NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON (January 11, 2021) – Wheat constitutes 20 percent of all calories and protein consumed, making it a cornerstone of the human diet, according to the United Nations. However, hotter and drier weather, driven by a changing climate, threatens the global wheat supply. To address this threat, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $5 million grant to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) to develop climate-resilient wheat. CIMMYT leads global research programs on maize and wheat, sustainable cropping systems and policies to improve farmers’ livelihoods. These activities have driven major gains in wheat variety improvement across the globe for decades; in the US alone, for example, over 50 percent of the wheat acreage is sown with CIMMYT-related varieties.
Wheat is among the most widely grown cereal crops in the world and the third-largest crop grown in the US by acre. Nearly all US wheat crops are improved and supported by public agriculture research. As most wheat in the US is dependent on rainfall and has no access to irrigation, this research is critical for helping the plants – and producers – weather climatic changes including extreme heat and drought. Additionally, the demand for wheat is expected to rise in the coming years – as much as 60 percent by 2050. Without public research, wheat production could decrease by nearly 30 percent over the same period due to extreme climate conditions.