A total of 41 bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) varieties have been released so far in Nepal since 1960. Farmers have been gradually adopting newly released varieties due to disease and lodging resistance, better yield performance and good taste. In Nepal, wheat area coverage, production and productivity have been increased by almost seven, sixteen and two folds, respectively in the last 56 years. Performance of varieties varies from one region to another. Yellow rust is the major problems in hills while leaf rust is the primary issue on the plains. Stem rust is sporadic in localized areas of Nepal. Wheat research program in Nepal has released 9 wheat varieties resistant to Ug99 namely Vijaya, Tilottama, Banganga, Gaura, Dhaulagiri, Danphe, Sworgadwari, Munal and Chyakhura. Vijay, Tilottama and Banganga are also resistant to leaf rust while, Dhaulagiri, Danphe, Sworgadwari, Munal and Chyakhura are resistant to yellow rust. Since the release of Vijay, the first Ug99 resistant variety in Nepal during 2010, source seed production of rust resistant varieties has been increasing significantly each year with present coverage under these varieties being around 40%. WK 1204 has been occupied 35% area in hills of Nepal. Seed production and distribution of such high yielding disease resistant varieties through public-private partnership is leading to quality seed supply for varietal diversity and better food security in the country.
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Recurrent outbreaks of rusts debilitated mega wheat varieties in major production areas in Ethiopia. Projects to accelerate seed multiplication of rust resistant varieties funded by USAID, BMGF and others contributed to the replacement of the widely grown susceptible varieties Kubsa and Galama. In 2013/14, a new Pgt race (TKTTF) - unrelated to Ug99 - caused 100% yield losses on bread wheat variety Digalu. The continuing epidemic calls for fast replacement of the now susceptible varieties by accelerated seed multiplication to scale-up new varieties with durable rust resistance, and demonstrations to promote their adoption. In 2014, CIMMYT initiated a short term R4D project ‘Emergency Seed Support and Demonstration of Rust Resistant Wheat Varieties in Stem Rust Affected Areas of Ethiopia’. The project was financed by USAID and implemented in collaboration with EIAR, regional agricultural research institutes, and the Oromia Bureau of Agriculture. In collaboration with DRRW, CDL, and WSU, technical assistance was given to research centers to phenotype and genotype their breeding lines and commercial cultivars. A total of 352 Development Agents (15% female) were trained in rust identification, seed technology and crop management. Eight rust resistant varieties were demonstrated on 430 model farms in 16 districts in Oromia, Amhara and SNNPR. Awareness was created through field days organized by the Kulumsa and Sinana research centers in Arsi and Bale, respectively. Technical and financial support was given to four federal (Kulumsa, Werer, Debre Zeit, and Holetta) and three regional (Mekele, Sinana, and Adet) research centers for early generation seed multiplication. A total of 2,000 resource-poor farm households (10% female headed) selected on the basis of having suffered heavy losses to stem rust in the previous season, received technical assistance and 165 tonnes of seed of rust resistant varieties. Assisted farmers recorded above average zonal yields in 2014/15.