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About the Pigeonpea

Context:

According to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) a new fast-breeding protocol is likely to make it easier for scientists to develop better quality varieties of the pigeonpea crop at a faster rate.

Relevance:

GS III: Agriculture

Pigeonpea:

  • Also known as arhar and tur, Pigeonpea is a significant legume crop and a key source of protein in India.
  • Mainly consumed as dal, it thrives in semi-arid tropical regions.

Climatic Conditions:

  • Requires 600-650mm annual rainfall, with initial moist conditions and dry phases during flowering.
  • Grows at temperatures between 26°C to 30°C in the rainy season and 17°C to 22°C post-rainy season.
  • Adaptable to various soils, but sandy loam or loam soil is optimal.

Cultivation Practices:

  • Often intercropped with various crops; 80-90% in India.
  • Susceptible to diseases like Wilt, Sterility Mosaic Disease, Phytophthora Blight, Alternaria Blight, and Powdery Mildew.

Challenges and Concerns:

  • Long growth cycle and sensitivity to day length hamper breeding efforts.
  • Limited release of global varieties over six decades.

Health Benefits:

  • Low glycemic index and rich in essential nutrients like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins, and minerals.

Major Producing States:

  • Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, and Jharkhand.

New ICRISAT Protocols:

  • Aim to accelerate Pigeonpea breeding, reducing the development time from 13 years to 2-4 years.
  • Manipulates factors like photoperiod, temperature, humidity, and breeding cycles for faster results.

-Source: Down To Earth


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