Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW)

Dr. Gordon Caesar and Dr. I.Kalpanavar providing training to wheat rust scientists from SAARC nations on identification of wheat rust at IARI Regional Research Station, Wellington, Tamil Nadu, India.

A collaborative effort to mitigate rust threats through coordinated activities to replace rust susceptible varieties
with durable rust resistant varieties developed using accelerated multilateral plant breeding and delivered through optimized seed sectors in rust susceptible developing nations in partnership with 22 research institutions around the world.

Project Duration: 2011-2015  Awarding Organization – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Project Value: USD 65 Million Geography: – India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan

Project Website

  • To Mitigating threat of the deadly Stem rust pathogen (Ug99) in wheat through effective surveillance, development and adoption of resistant wheat varieties in South Asia
  • Multilateral interventions to improve delivery of rust resistant wheat varieties
  • Leveraged expertise and infrastructure of partner research institutes to augment capacities of the researchers on advanced methods of molecular breeding for rust resistant varieties in wheat, facilitating rust research
  • Address gender equity at level of professional development of women wheat scientists, as well as a moral imperative to ensure food security at household level in developing countries
  • Un-paralleled & remarkable convergence of inter-disciplinary scientific community in the South Asian region for continued exchange of information on rust research efforts worldwide
  • Set up a new pattern of genetic resource exchange intra-regionally despite very restrictive regime for genetic resource exchange among the key players thereby achieving a seamless exchange of seeds of resistant varieties in the region
  • Helped India emerge as the hub of wheat research in the Subcontinent through introduction of SAARC wheat disease monitoring nursery
  • Converged private sector companies with national wheat seed multiplication system in India, thereby triggering rapid multiplication of newly developed rust resistant wheat varieties
  • Successful withdrawal of the popular rust susceptible wheat variety PBW343 from India in a record time of 3 years with durable resistant varieties
  • Political sensitization, private sector engagement, convergence and networking of intra country policy planners triggered intensive focus on future of wheat breeding
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Project Conceptualization & Management

Sathguru’s strong regional understanding helped in mapping individual country gaps and devising country specific strategies for combating the menace of Ug99 through collective engagement. Sathguru worked meticulously with the national research centers and respective national breeding programs to trigger research for attaining genetic protection against rust.

  • Conceptualized and converged regional power to cooperate in disease detection, collaborative breeding and exchange of bio resource for common good of the South Asian region
  • Linked private sector with public sector to enhance the opportunity of technology reaching resource poor farmers several fold in India

Global Collaborations

Sathguru connected regional research centers from the South Asian countries with global experts for continuous exchange of ideas, information flow about progress update and new developments for mitigating the effect of rust. Brought about a paradigm shift by collaborating private sector with public research institutes for increased quantum of seed multiplication and distribution to the poor farmers across the country.

  • Built a network of 800 scientists from partner South Asian countries for continuous exchange of ideas, information flow about progress update and new developments for mitigating the effect of rust
  • Build knowledge driven linkages between 6 national research centers of SAARC nations

Information, Communication and Technology

Sathguru’s inherent understanding of regional requirements, technical aspects and processes coupled with its in-house information technology capabilities enabled it to conceptualize, design and introduce unified methods, standards, tools, data sets for rust susceptible agent (pathogen) identification, surveillance, reporting and data exchange.

  • Designed, introduced and ensured adoption of SAARC Surveillance Tool Box through web, mobile and tablet based applications
  • Rust tracking application is deployed and used by 95% of rust surveillance teams in SAARC region
  • Created a sustainable model for deployment and adoption of this application through strengthening of respective national data centers and development of lead surveillance experts

Research and Technology Management

Sathguru analyzed regional strengths and weakness and devised a model to build individual country gaps through pooled through responsive engagement of high level capacity for access by all the players in the region. Sathguru’s close association with decision makers and policy planners in India have helped to promote and set up a pattern of exchange of genetic resources among the partner nations and also facilitated efficacy testing of germplasms in international screening nurseries including Kenya and Ethiopia.

  • Facilitated development, efficacy testing for Ug99 resistance in international screening nurseries and release of more than 45 rust resistant wheat lines of SAARC
  • About 2500 wheat lines of SAARC nations have been assessed for Ug99 resistance in Kenya and Ethiopia
  • Annually SAARC wheat disease monitoring nursery is planted with wheat lines from SAARC nations across more than 27 locations in the region

Capacity Building

Sathguru conceptualized time and cost effective training manuals/protocols, locations, target audience and charted out tailor made programs structures as well as feedback mechanism. Sathguru judiciously selected mid-carrier senior scientists in consultation with respective national research centers for ensuring maximum impact. Sathguru’s association with various institutes of relevance helped to create an enabling environment for fostering linkages for continued dialogue intended for exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing among the South Asian nations.

  • Research capacity enhanced of 6 national research centers of SAARC nations on rust management
  • More than 250 scientists from SAARC nations made self sufficient in conducting rust scoring and surveillance and development of rust resistant wheat varieties
  • 2800 rust surveillance data records were captured through SAARC surveillance tool box in 3 years in the SAARC nations and data shared on global platforms
  • Converged > 300 personnel annually from wheat growing nations during annual global convergence of rust research experts at strategic locations.