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Building Capacity on Wheat Improvement


Participants attended a three-week training comprising theoretical and practical sessions. Photo: Courtesy of Wuletaw Tadesse

May 2, Rabat – Twenty-five scientists participated in ICARDA’s annual training on wheat improvement. The course in Morocco is an annual training and part of ICARDA’s strategy to build the capacity of students and scientists involved in wheat farming.

One of the cornerstones of ICARDA’s mission is to strengthen resilience through capacity building among its different partners. To make this happen, ICARDA has among other activities worked for more than 40 years with NARS to train professionals in agriculture.

“We aim to train wheat breeders from their respective national programs in classical and emerging molecular techniques of wheat breeding,” said Wuletaw Tadesse, ICARDA’s senior scientist, who organized the training. “We also help strengthen collaboration within the global research network National Agricultural Research System and enhance wheat varietal development, release and promotion.”

The three-week training was built around both theoretical and practical sessions covering wheat breeding approaches and strategies, marker assisted selection, doubled haploid, and speed breeding techniques. It furthermore dealt with quality analysis, integrated pest management approaches, genetic resources conservation, and biometrics - topics all taught by ICARDA wheat scientists in the respective disciplines.

This year saw five women among the 25 scientists attending the training course. Inclusion of women remains an important component in ICARDA’s programming with the aim to empower both female and male scientists. The participants came from Central and West Asia, North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa. During their stay, the trainees also participated in the Cornell University’s Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, the BGRI-workshop, on April 2018 in Marrakesh.

Moving forward, ICARDA’s capacity building efforts will focus on youth, gender equality, and the poorest countries, including countries in conflict and post-conflict situation. ICARDA will also focus on capacity development guided by research-based solutions it has generated in partnership with Agricultural Research Institutions. 

The 2018 wheat improvement training in Morocco was funded by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Research Program on Wheat, UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), and Iran Agricultural Research (IAR). 

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