Tbilisi, Georgia: The Georgian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Ivane Javakhishvili State University, and the Agricultural Research Center hosted an international scientific conference on Georgian wheat culture on February 6 and 7, 2024.
The conference aimed to protect and popularize Georgian wheat, a rich and diverse genetic resource and a part of the country’s cultural heritage.
About 80 scientists from six countries attended the conference, including Georgia, Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, and Armenia. They presented and discussed various topics related to Georgian wheat, such as its endemic species and local varieties, its production traditions, its role in world wheat selection, its conservation and certification, and its ancient bread-baking traditions.
One of the speakers, Michelle van Slageren, a representative of the Royal Botanical Garden of Britain, praised the efforts of Georgian farmers and scientists to preserve and cultivate Georgian wheat. She said, “Georgian wheat is protected in the Genbank of many countries. Farmers in Georgia are slowly returning to cultivating Georgian wheat, which is welcome.
This allows us to keep genetic material alive. The main thing is that this process has started and continues. The Georgian government will continue to support farmers in this direction.
The conference also included visiting the National Museum of Georgia, where the participants saw Georgian wheat and bread exhibits. They also participated in a masterclass in Georgian bread baking, where they learned how to make traditional Georgian bread, such as shots, lavash, and khachapuri.
The conference was supported by the Agrarian Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Georgian Ministries of Environment Protection and Agriculture, Culture and Sports, and Education, Science and Youth.
The organisers hoped the conference would raise awareness and appreciation of Georgian wheat culture and foster cooperation and exchange among scientists and farmers in wheat research and development.