Combines harvesting wheat in Alberta. Wheat is an 11 billion dollar sector of the Canadian economy, with much of the harvest being exported.

Combines harvesting wheat in Alberta. Wheat is an 11 billion dollar sector of the Canadian economy, with much of the harvest being exported.
Photo Credit: Rick Mercer Report-CBC

A world food staple, Canada leading in wheat development

With close to $100 million in funding, research into new plant breeding technology at the Canadian Wheat Alliance, is showing great promise

Faouzi Bekkaoui (PhD) is the executive director of the wheat programme at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) which is an integral partner in the CWA.

Listen
Faouzi Bekkaoui (PhD)shown inspecting research wheat varieties in the greenhouse, is the executive director of the wheat programme at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) which is an integral part of the CWA.
Faouzi Bekkaoui (PhD) shown inspecting research wheat varieties in the greenhouse. © Allan Feurtado

The Canadian Wheat Alliance, established in 2013 seeks to develop new varieties of wheat to improve yield and profitability for Canadian farmers.

Those improvements involve selecting the best genetic qualities to resists disease and adaptability to cope with the increasing variability of weather due to global warming causing climate change.

None of their research however involves what is known as genetically modified technology, i.e., adding genes artificially from other plant species or animals.

Bekkaoui notes that there is no GM wheat, and given that Canada exports to nations where GM products are not welcome, he says there are also no plans for Canadian researchers to proceed down that path.

That said, he points out they are developing methods to reduce the 10 to 14 years of time it takes to research and create new wheat varieties.

Another of the scientists working in the five year $97 million research and development project, Lanette Ehman in a wheat field
Another of the scientists working in the five year $97 million research and development project, Lanette Ehman in a wheat field ©  David Stobbe

He says for example their new “doubled haploidy system” will knock at least two years off typical development time, and that this technology is almost finalized and ready to be passed to plant breeders.

Projects in Phase 1 were focused on six priority areas:

  • genomics assisted breeding
  • improved cell technologies
  • enhanced fusarium and rust tolerance
  • improved plant performance and seed yield
  • beneficial biotic reactions related to nutrient utilization
  • enhanced tolerance to biotic stresses including drought, heat and cold temperatures (climate change)
Wheat almost ready for harvest. new varieties that resist disease and can cope with climate change are needed to increase yield as world population and food demand steadily increase
Wheat almost ready for harvest. new varieties that resist disease and can cope with climate change are needed to increase yield as world population and food demand steadily increase ©  David Stobbe

He says Canada has been involved in wheat research for over 100 years and is a world leader. However he also points out that to maintain that position, work such as his should that of the NRC and CWA  to improve wheat production is increasingly important as the world population grows rapidly and more food will be needed.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Economy, Environment, International, Science and Technology

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*