Experts discuss threats to wheat supply, commemorate Dr Borlaug’s legacy

The agriculture experts across the world have gathered at New Delhi to look at issues concerning vast wheat-growing regions of South Asia that remains at-risk for wheat rust


BGRI Technical Workshop Inaugral function: Devising strategies for unhindered wheat supply!

"Just as important as developing rust-resistant varieties of wheat is getting rid of the old ‘rust sucking' varieties that pose a major threat to wheat production and food security in the path of stem rust and yellow rust," said Dr Ronnie Coffman, Cornell professor of plant breeding, principal investigator, director of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) project and vice chair of
the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI).

Dr Coffman is among the top wheat scientists from around the world who will convene in New Delhi, India, Aug. 19-22, to attend the 2013 BGRI Technical Workshop jointly convened with the ICAR at New Delhi. They will discuss progress and challenges in protecting the world's wheat supply from rust and commemorate the 50th anniversary of Norman E. Borlaug's introduction of high-yielding wheat varieties to India. Reflecting the global compass of the initiative, the workshop will be attended by over 400 delegates from major wheat growing nations from all the continents of the world. Participating nations, apart from the South Asian nations of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan will include the nations of the North and South Americas, Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, the Maghreb region, Africa, Australia, and East Asia. Indian has been the earliest beneficiary of the Borlaug legacy that has contributed to the country accomplishing food security and economic prosperity.

"India lies at the heart of the greatest contiguous wheat growing region in the world. As the world's largest agricultural research organization, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research has moved decisively to reduce the area planted to UG99 susceptible wheat varieties while providing our farmers with resistant varieties screened in collaboration with our BGRI partners
in Kenya and Ethiopia," said ICAR director general Dr S Ayyappan. "This global partnership has been central to our success in working with our neighboring countries to prepare for the arrival of UG99, which will relentlessly ignore political boundaries when it inevitably extends to South Asia."

"The wheat revolution in India triggered by Dr Borlaug has sustained its relevance due to the continued engagement of Indian Scientists in
enhancing wheat productivity and production with consistent focus on food self sufficiency. The Indian Council of Agriculture Research has gained from global convergence of the scientific effort in mitigating rust in wheat and has contributed to the global effort in addressing the prevention of the rust disease in wheat", added Dr S Ayyappan.

"We are significantly closer to our goal of protecting the global wheat crop from rust diseases but the vast wheat-growing region that stretches across North Africa all the way to India and China - two of the world's largest wheat-growing nations - is still vulnerable," said Coffman.

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