The challenge

Wheat is one of the world’s most important crops, providing 20% of all calories consumed by people worldwide. It is the leading source of vegetable protein for humans and is also a significant source of food for animals.

With the world’s population projected to reach over nine billion by 2050, wheat production will have a crucial bearing on food security and the global economy in the coming decades.

The World Bank estimates that global wheat production will have to increase by 60% between 2000 and 2050 to meet rising demand. However, the rate of wheat yield increases in developed nations has slowed since 1990. There have been politically destabilising wheat price spikes as seen in 2007-8 and 2011 and more are likely if wheat production falls short of demand.