Syngenta has announced a public-private partnership with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) to focus on the development and advancement of technology in wheat, the most internationally traded food crop and the single-largest food import in developing countries.
The agreement will entail joint research and development in the areas of native and GM traits, hybrid wheat and the combination of seeds and crop protection to accelerate plant yield performance.
“Syngenta and CIMMYT are both committed to transforming wheat production worldwide, by creating new technology platforms which set unprecedented standards for yield and quality,” said John Atkin, Syngenta COO Crop Protection. “We will bring together our complementary assets, capabilities and geographic focus to increase the productivity of wheat in a sustainable way, through co-operation on defined projects. We look forward to linking each other’s comparative strengths and advancing technology faster and more efficiently than we could on our own.”
Food production needs to double by 2050 and wheat production is already 50 per cent less than the current demand, a Syngenta release says.
“Global wheat production is increasing at only 0.9 per cent each year,” said Hans-Joachim Braun, director of CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program. “This is a very critical issue as global demand is growing at 1.5 per cent or more annually. Partnerships like this can greatly benefit the world’s farmers, rich and poor.”
The agreement will leverage Syngenta’s highly developed genetic marker technology, advanced traits platform and wheat-breeding for the developed world, along with CIMMYT’s access to wheat genetic diversity, global partnership network, and wheat breeding program targeted to the developing world.
Public-private collaboration is essential for advancing agriculture to meet global challenges such as food security, climate change, natural resource depletion, and access to technology.
In August 2009, the Syngenta Foundation launched a Ug99 stem rust resistance research partnership with Syngenta and CIMMYT to facilitate the development of durable rust resistance.