Multi-national project to grow wheat crops

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An AMBITIOUS multi-national research project aimed at bumping up wheat yields by 50 per cent in the next 20 years has been launched in Mexico City this week. It principally involves scientists from the UK, USA and Mexico but includes research workers from other countries.

Currently wheat provides some 20 per cent of global calories consumed yet its production faces a myriad pressures, such as climate change and changes in land use.

Steve Visscher of the Biotechnology and Biological Research Council said wheat was under great pressure at a time when the world needed to find ways to feed a growing global population.

“The challenge of increasing yields and developing new varieties is too big for any one agency or country to meet,” he said. “By working together, sharing infrastructure, expertise and results, the partners in the Wheat Yield Initiative believe we can make a greater impact.”

The project comes only weeks after it was announced that scientists had identified the genetic makeup of wheat.