About the BGRI

Who We Are

An international consortium

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) is an international community of thousands of hunger fighters from hundreds of institutions working together to:

  • reduce the world’s vulnerability to threats to wheat, particularly from disease and climate change;
  • enhance world productivity to withstand global threats to wheat security.
  • facilitate sustainable international partnerships to contain these threats;
  • engage with farmers for a wheat-secure world;
  • train the next generation of hunger fighters.

The BGRI was initiated by Norman E. Borlaug in 2005. Founding institutions were ICAR, ICARDA, CIMMYT, UN-FAO and Cornell University.

Communication among the founding organizations led to adoption of a Charter for the BGRI. The Charter calls for an Executive Committee and a general membership comprised of all organizations wishing to participate.

Experience the BGRI interactive story map
Our Work

Cultivation fueled by collaboration

To develop wheat varieties that are resistant to disease and adaptable to a changing climate, the BGRI’s global community has developed systems for the following.
Breeding & Phenotyping
Cross-breeding, genomic selection, high-throughput phenotyping, shuttle breeding, and testing in international nurseries are central to developing disease-resistant and climate-resilient wheat.
Monitoring, Surveillance & Pathotyping
Platforms that track and monitor wheat diseases around the world provide real-time forecasts to national programs and farmers to help predict and prepare for future outbreaks.
Multiplying Seed
Engaging smallholder farmers in wheat seed multiplication and production activities ensures their access to and control of the distribution of shared resources.
Building Open-Access Networks
Our network of scientists identifies, develops, deploys and shares tools and data in open-access phenotypic and genotypic databases as a means of assuring global food security.
Educating & Training
Engaging early-career and women scientists from all over the world in the global wheat community builds capacity and fosters leadership for the future.
Advocating for Scientists & Farmers
A dedicated network of communicators from national programs, CGIAR centers and Cornell University helps secure funding and build a resilient wheat community.
Our History

Deeply rooted in the pursuit of world wheat security

The discovery of the Ug99 (TTKSK) stem rust race in East Africa in 1998 to which over 80% of the world’s wheat varieties were susceptible was a call to action for Dr. Norman Borlaug. Realizing that smallholder wheat farmers globally were at risk, Dr. Borlaug rallied world leaders to address the decades of complacency that had resulted in too few scientists working in inadequate breeding facilities with scarce training resources to address the issue.

By establishing the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) in 2005 to support wheat research and meet the threats head-on, the Nobel Laureate was instrumental in launching the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) project (2008-2016), followed by the Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat (DGGW) project (2016-2020).

Learn More

Meet Our Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of the BGRI is an international group representing national and organizational stakeholders in the fight for disease resistance and climate resiliency for one of the world’s most important cereal crops. The Committee meets at the BGRI Technical Workshop and other times as necessary. There are 6 permanent members and 12 rotating members.

Jeanie Borlaug Laube

Chairwoman

Ronnie Coffman

Vice chair, from Cornell University

Trilochan Mohapatra

Director General, ICAR

Martin Kropff

Director General, CIMMYT

Aly Abousabaa

Director General, ICARDA

Rémi Nono Womdim

Deputy Director, Plant Production and Protection Division, FAO

Meet Our Rotating Members

Australia: 

John Manners, Director, CSIRO Agriculture

Canada:  

David Wall, Acting Director Research, Development and Technology, AAFC

China: 

Huajun Tang, Vice President for International Collaboration, CAAS

Denmark: 

Lene Lange, Founder and Owner, LLa-Bioeconomy, Research & Advisory

Ethiopia: 

Diriba Geleti, Deputy Director General, EIAR (cc: Adugna Wakijira, Deputy Director General, EIAR)

Egypt:  

Abd El Moneam El Banna, President, Egyptian Agricultural Research Center (cc: Rehqb Elsayed)

Iran: 

Eskander Zand, Deputy Minister and Head, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Ministry of Agriculture

Kenya: 

Eliud Kireger, Director General, KALRO

Turkey: 

Gazi Kaya, Director General of the General Directorate of Agricultural Research

Pakistan:  

Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan, Chairman, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council

USA: 

Jose Costa, Deputy Administrator, Crop Production and Protection, ARS/USDA

Uruguay: 

Dr. Álvaro Roel, President, INIA

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