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India plans to increase pigeon pea production to feed its future
Molecular breeding efforts involving India’s second most important legume, the pigeon pea, have made a remarkable leap that promises to significantly increase the global yield.
In India, pigeon pea is often used in the pureed bean stew knows as daland is a significant source of protein and amino acids in this predominantly vegetarian country. However, the pigeon pea has not been productive enough to meet domestic demand.
In a concerted effort to improve pigeon pea production, USAID has joined in a strategic alliance to help develop hardy, productive, and disease and climate resistant varieties of pigeon pea, both in India and Africa. The project also aims to train 350 new African breeders and scientists in the molecular genetic sequencing in order to continue to improve the crop’s production and productivity in the region.
According to International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), farmers in India and Africa collectively endorse and recognize the contribution of improved pigeon pea in achieving food and nutrition security, resilience, and improved livelihoods.
The project has an ambitious timeline, with public data expected to be available by the end of the third year and the commercialized seeds and hybrids reaching farmers by the end of 2018.
Researchers are hoping that the improved varieties will increase yields between three and five times what was possible with the original variety.
Last updated: February 14, 2014