LONDON: British scientists say they have developed a new type of wheat which could increase productivity by 30%.

The Cambridge-based National Institute of Agricultural Botany has combined an ancient ancestor of wheat with a modern variety to produce a new strain.

In early trials, the resulting crop seemed bigger and stronger than the current modern wheat varieties.

It will take at least five years of tests and regulatory approval before it is harvested by farmers.

Some farmers, however, are urging new initiatives between the food industry, scientists and govt. They believe the regulatory process needs to be speeded up to ensure that the global food security demands of the next few decades can be met, says the BBC’s Tom Heap. One in five of all the calories consumed round the world come from wheat. But despite steady improvement in the late 20th century, the last 15 years have seen little growth in the average wheat harvest from each acre in Britain.–BBC