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International Wheat Yield Partnership

Getting a crucial cereal back on track to feed the world

The demand for wheat 

Globally, wheat is the most important staple crop. It provides 20% of daily calories and protein. Due to population growth and changing diets, wheat demand is expected to increase by 60% by 2050. To meet this demand, wheat yield needs to increase by at least 1.7% every year. For some time now, it has been below 1%. The gap is getting bigger and bigger.  

In 2014, this urgent global need motivated a wide range of agricultural research funders to form the International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP). We are a founding member.

About the IWYP
IWYP is a novel funding and coordination partnership. It brings together research funders, international aid agencies, foundations, companies and major wheat research organizations. Together, they aim to help raise wheat’s yield potential by up to 50% over the next 20 years. Increasing yield is one of the key aims of the Wheat Initiative (see separate box).

In 2015, the IWYP's first competitive funding call invited "creative, forward-looking proposals ... to substantially increase ... grain yield under the absence of stress". Here is the press release about the grant recommendations. The eight selected projects cover a wide range of research topics.

The partnership anticipates that wheat yield potential can be enhanced by:

  • Increasing carbon capture before flowering
  • Optimizing plant architecture; modifying flowering time
  • Increasing biomass
  • Optimizing harvest index

For further media announcements, presentations, etc., see:

The Wheat Initiative

In 2011, "G20" agriculture ministers agreed on an international initiative to coordinate research. This Wheat Initiative focuses on genetics, genomics, physiology, breeding and agronomy. Public and private partners share resources, capabilities, data and ideas to improve wheat productivity, quality and sustainable production worldwide.

A key Wheat Initiative aim is to increase yield.  .  

Among the creators of IWYP are the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the Mexican Agriculture Secretariat and USAID. 

Over the first five years, the growing list of partners aims to invest up to US$100 million in wheat research.