Germplasm Distribution and Capacity Development

Based on request, different forms of germplasm such as genetic stocks for crossing bloc, segregating generations and finished (fixed) genotypes have been distributed globally on annual basis through the International Nursery system from CIMMYT and ICARDA. The genetic stocks and the segregating generations were sent with the objective of decentralizing the breeding program and creating genetic variability; while the fixed materials were sent with the objective of releasing adapted genotypes as varieties. The experience obtained so far is that most NARSs have released more varieties from directly introduced, semi-finished material than from early segregating populations (Byerlee and Moya 1993). Research infrastructure, budget availability, and overall strength of NARSs are the main factors accounting for these differences. As a matter of fact, unless specifically requested, most of the germplasm distribution to NARS from the CIMMYT/ICARDA wheat breeding program is semi-finished and finished materials.

All nurseries are distributed on annual basis based on the request from the national research programs across different regions of the world (Fig. 44.2). More than 620 co-operators requested the WHEAT nurseries during the 2013 season.

Germplasm distribution to the NARS by its own will not bring the expected result of releasing and adoption of improved varieties unless it is handled and managed by trained and qualified breeders. The wheat breeding programs at CIMMYT and ICARDA used to have both short and long term trainings in wheat breeding, and have trained hundreds of wheat breeders from all over the wheat growing NARSs. This had helped in the promotion of the ideals of international wheat breeding, and development and release of many wheat varieties. However, research and infrastructural support for public institutions that train plant breeders, and scientists in related disciplines, has steadily declined over the past three decades in most of

Fig. 44.2 Test sites of CIMMYT and ICARDA wheat international nurseries in 2012/2013

the developing countries NARS resulting in a great lack of trained agricultural researchers (FAO 2005). In the last decade many new technologies such as molecular markers have been rapidly developed and utilized in crop breeding institutes of the developed world. Such rapid advances in biotechnology and molecular genetics not only provide unprecedented opportunities to enhance breeding efficiency, but also create new challenges in training breeders with skills integrating both conventional and molecular breeding approaches and techniques. To this end, the wheat breeding programs at CIMMYT and ICARDA have established a training program on classical and molecular approaches for wheat improvement through which junior and mid-career scientists experience a comprehensive hands-on course on breeding for durable resistance, high yield potential and stability, drought tolerance, seed quality, and seed health issues using conventional and molecular tools.

Variety Release, Adoption and Impacts

The success of wheat improvement within the CGIAR has been remarkable, and today more than 70 % of all spring wheat cultivars grown in developing countries are CIMMYTand ICARDA-derived, reaching 90 % in South Asia, parts of West Asia and North Africa (Byerlee and Moya 1993; Lantican et al. 2005) (Fig. 44.3). The impact of WHEAT has been witnessed not only by farmers, governments, policy makers and professionals but also by donors such as the World Bank. According to World Bank (2008), for no other major crop is the percentage of improved cultivars in farmers' fields in developing countries higher than for wheat. From the CIMMYT/ICARDA wheat breeding program, it has been reported that more than 1,500 wheat varieties have been released during the periods of 1966–1990 with

Fig. 44.3 Global and regional area coverage of CGIAR and non-CGIAR origin wheat cultivars

average of 65 varieties released annually. More than 80 % of the varieties released are spring bread wheat, which account for 77 % of the wheat area in the developing world outside of China (Byerlee and Moya 1993). Among the many crosses developed to-date at CIMMYT/ICARDA, the VEERY cross (KVZ/BUHO//KAL/BB) and its derivatives have been by far the most successful cross enabling in the release of at least 65 varieties in more than 30 countries. Among the VEERYs, Veery 5 (CM33027-F-15 M-500Y-0 M) was the most popular and released in many countries with different local names such as SERI 82 in Lebanon, Turkey, Mexico; Dashen in Ethiopia; Tilila in Morocco; Aziz in Yemen; Pirsabak 85 in Pakistan; Loerie in Zambia; MACS2496 in India; SCW101 in Zimbabwe; Rassol in Iran; GIZA 164 in Egypt; SASARAIB in Sudan and TAUSI in Tanzania.

After the VEERYs, Cham-6 (W3918A/JUP) also called Neser was released and grown in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Algeria. Similarly, Kauz (JUP/BJY// URES) has been released in many countries with different local names such as Cham-8 in Syria, Tanur in Lebanon, Mehdia in Morocco, Atrak in Iran, Bacanora in Mexico, WH 542 in India and with other different names in many other countries. After Kauz, many successful varieties have been originated from the Attila cross (ND/VG9144//KAL/BB/3/YACO/4/VEE#5) and grown in many countries as megacultivars such as Kubsa in Ethiopia; Imam in Sudan; Utique 96 in Tunisia; PBW343 in India; Chamran, Gaher and Shiroodi in Iran; Ziyabey 98 in Jordan; MH-97 in Pakistan; and with different names many other countries (Tadesse et al. 2010). Recently, from the CIMMYT/ICARDA wheat breeding programs, Ug99 resistant wheat varieties have been released in many countries.

Adoption studies of the modern varieties (MVs) originated from the CIMMYT/ ICARDA program have indicated that in the 1990s, MVs covered close to 50 million hectares, or 70 % of the wheat area in the developing world, excluding China (Byerlee and Moya 1993). According to their report, spring bread wheat varieties have been the most successful with MVs occupying an estimated 85 % of spring bread wheat area and account for 93 % of production. Since spring bread wheat dominates developing country wheat production (about 70 % of the total), success in spring bread wheat accounts for the overall large area sown to semi-dwarfs. Though estimating the economic impact of the CIMMYT/ICARDA international wheat breeding program is very difficult given the diversity of environments and number of countries and research programs involved, Byerlee and Moya (1993), reported that the adoption of MVs of spring bread wheat over 1977–1990 resulted in about 15.5 million tons of additional wheat production in 1990, valued at about US$ three billion. For the spring wheat areas under consideration, this amounts to a production increase of 16 % (an increase of about 1.1 % annually over the period). Nearly 80 % of all durum wheat cultivars in developing countries are CIMMYT-ICARDA selections.

An adoption study conducted in Syria by the Farm Resource Management Program (FRMP) of ICARDA during 1991 showed that, modern high-yielding varieties (HYVs) such as Bohouth 2, 4, and 6; and Cham 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 account for 87 % of the area planted and were grown by 86 % of the farmers surveyed (Tutwiler and Mazid 1991). The area planted by Mexipak 65 has dramatically reduced in the year 2000 and since 2005 Cham 8 covers more than 50 % of the spring bread wheat production area in Syria. Semi-dwarf durum wheat became available in the early 1970s, and now over half of the durum wheat area is sown to MVs. MVs of durum wheat such as Bohouth 1, Cham 1, Cham 3 and Cham 5, which were originated from the CIMMYT/ICARDA wheat breeding program, have been released and widely grown in Syria (Nachit 1992; Nachit et al. 1995). The utilization and adoption of such MVs of bread and durum wheat coupled by supplementary irrigation and other inputs such as fertilizers and herbicides by the Syrian farmers has increased the wheat production significantly without a change in the area of wheat production as indicated in Fig. 44.4.

Fig. 44.4 Area, production and yield of wheat in Syria, 1961–2013

International breeding efforts focusing only on winter wheat started since 1986 through the establishment of International Winter Wheat Improvement Program (IWWIP). To-date more than 55 winter/facultative wheat varieties of IWWIP origin have been released in 10 countries of Central and West Asia including Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey (Tadesse et al. 2013). These new varieties have broad genetic diversity as they are developed from parents of diverse sources originated from ICARDA, CIMMYT, and from a wide range of genetically unrelated winter wheat from Turkey, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and US. Some lines such as OK82282//BOW/NKT and YMH/TOB//MCD/3/LIRA have been identified and released under different names in different countries indicating their broad adaptation. The former is released in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan while the later (Kinaci 97) has been released in Turkey, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. However, MVs of winter wheat still cover a small area. Old cultivars such as Bezostaya and Gereek are dominantly cultivated in Turkey.

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