ICRISAT-adapts pigeonpea to benefit farmers in ESA region

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Hyderabad, Nov 26 (UNI) The ICRISAT-adapted pigeonpea is benefitting farmers of Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), who were growing a variety with low yields and was susceptible to wilt terminal drought stress.

In a press release here today, ICRISAT Director General William Dar said earlier, ICRISAT screened the pigeonpea for resistance to wilt and then incorporated bold white grain preferred by farmers and markets in the medium and long duration varieties.

After evaluatiing it, a large number of varieties were released for Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique. In eastern Kenya, over 10,000 hectares of medium duration varieties resistant to wilt and cropped two times a year are being grown by farmers. Likewise, in northern Tanzania, two long-duration varieties, which are high yielding, having white bold grain and resistant to wilt, are being grown in over 50,000 hectares. In Malawi, two long-duration varieties have been released and pigeonpea seed is now included in the country's subsidy program, he said.

Dr Dar said the Institute's scientific innovations in sub-Saharan Africa are designed, considering the difficult conditions faced by dryland farmers of the continent.

''The drylands of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is home to more than 300 million people, the majority of whom have been left at the margins of global development. They continuously struggle to maintain and improve their livelihoods and ensure community survival in hostile natural environments. The contributions they make to the preservation of critical habitats, the maintenance of dryland biodiversity and its resilience, the enrichment of global culture, as well as their quest for progress and a better life deserve the strongest international support,'' he said.

As the only international agriculture research institute working for improved agricultural productivity in the semi-arid tropics, ICRISAT was set to provide international public goods support in dryland agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, he added.

In this regard, ICRISAT has steadily increased its investments and pursued its commitments to SSA, which include strategic partnerships, capacity building and impact-oriented innovations for the continent's poorest of the poor.


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