At a recent event ‘Brainstorming Session on Pigeonpea Research – Current Status & Future Strategies for India,’ held at ICRISAT-India, partner institutes like the Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR), Kanpur and other collaborating institutes  came together to discuss the future strategy for pigeonpea research in India.

During the inaugural session, Dr CLL Gowda, Deputy Director General-Research, ICRISAT, shared that the modernization of pigeonpea breeding, using tools of Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP), will soon be made available to national partners. Further, he requested continued support from IIPR and the Indian Government.

Appreciating the efforts of ICRISAT during the last 40 years in the field of pigeonpea improvement, Dr NP Singh, Director IIPR, said, “Although we have pigeonpea hybrids available, research on both fronts – varietal improvement as well as improvement of the parental lines of hybrid is the need of the hour.”

Dr Singh emphasized on the need for developing superior pigeonpea varieties as well as on maintenance breeding. He suggested intensifying efforts towards utilizing genome sequence for pigeonpea improvement.

Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director, Grain Legumes, ICRISAT emphasized on the need to modernize and digitize pigeonpea breeding. He highlighted the importance of developing and deploying ‘battery of markers’ associated with the trait of interest in pigeonpea research.

“ICAR, in general, and IIPR in particular, together with state agricultural universities have for four decades partnered with ICRISAT in improving pigeonpea. Therefore, it is important for us to work with our stakeholders to assess their needs and prospects. Based on discussions with our partners as well as discussions during the Asia in-house review meeting of Research Program-Grain Legumes, we decided to organize this brainstorming session. I am very happy to note that we have a better ideas now to move ahead along with our partners in the area of pigeonpea research,” said Dr Varshney.

Based on the discussions the following Action plan was developed

  • Early maturing varieties: It was decided that extra early (120-125 days) and medium duration (140-150 days) varieties/hybrids with high yield and disease resistance needs to be developed for different zones of the country.
  • Heterosis in hybrids: The current level of heterosis in hybrids needs to be enhanced through systematic hybrid breeding.
  • Fusarium Wilt and Sterility Mosaic Disease resistance: It was emphasized that development of Fusarium Wilt and Sterility Mosaic Disease resistance varieties and hybrids are a pre-requisite for enhancing productivity of pigeonpea. Therefore, development of such breeding and parental lines through molecular breeding is an urgent need.

This activity was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes.

Source: ICRISAT HAppenings