Scientists Race to Create Wheat That Can Withstand Global Warming – Mother Jones

the loss of diversity in crops, ecosystems and traditional sustainable practices came at a huge environmental and human cost. And now the climate crisis is making us pay.

“After the Green Revolution the focus was on breeding high-yield disease-resistant specialists for different regions, but the mega-varieties were not bred to cope with unpredictable climate conditions. Now we need generalists, and there’s enough diversity to cope with unpredictable climate events—we just need to find and exploit it, but funding is an issue,” said Matthew Reynolds…

After six years, the program ends up with 50 or so new wheat varieties which countries can take and test before releasing to their farmers. The goal is to shorten the breeding cycle to four years to help farmers with few resources better cope with the rapidly changing climate and emerging disease threats.

“The private and public sectors are not in this together. No one is getting rich selling drought-resistant wheat seeds in Africa, so we need public programs to develop diverse seeds and reach small farmers who are not served by commercial seed companies,” said Luigi Guarino, director of science at the Crop Trust.

About 70 percent of the world’s wheat can be traced back to seeds developed here, yet just four transnational agrochemical companies control 60 percent of the global seed market. The big four focus on yield, and produce most of the world’s fungicides and pesticides, which degrade the environment and reduce biodiversity, making farms more vulnerable to climate change shocks.

 

Source: Scientists Race to Create Wheat That Can Withstand Global Warming – Mother Jones