Research into more productive varieties of staple crops is an important part of agricultural R&D. Agricultural conditions can vary greatly among regions, countries, and even micro-regions; thus, seeds that produce well in one area may not be as productive in another. And with climate change posing even greater agricultural challenges for poor producers, this research is even more critical.

The Wheat Initiative is an action plan endorsed by the G20 to coordinate efforts among researchers, funding organizations, and governments to improve wheat research world-wide. The initiative encourages focus on genomics, genetics, agronomy, and cropping systems and emphasizes the need for open communication and exchange of information and ideas. The initiative is a science-based plan (not a funding organization) that aims to encourage national and international cooperation.

In late 2012, the G20 Wheat Initiative resulted in the creation of the Wheat Yield Network, or WYN, which will support research and development activities to increase global wheat yields and develop new wheat varieties adapted to different geographical regions. Drawing on transparent collaboration and data sharing, the network's goal is to increase wheat's genetic yield potential by 50 percent over the next 20 years.

The WYN brings together members of the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), USDA, USAID, CIMMYT, ICARDA, and Syngenta, as well as representatives from Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, China, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, Germany, India, Mexico, France, Japan and Ireland. To date, the network partners have committed US$50-75 million over the next five years.

Download notes from the technical meeting of the G20 Wheat Initiative.

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