Ascochyta blight and fusarium wilt can cause upto 100% yield losses. Most ICRISAT-derived chickpea varieties are resistant to fusarium wilt and some have combined resistance to both the diseases. More than 90% of chickpea produced in Ethiopia is of desi type and varieties with high levels of resistance to ascochyta blight are not available in Eastern and Sothern Africa. Therefore, farmers are very vulnerable to blight outbreak, leading to pesticide abuse, increased cost of production and health and environmental hazards.

The chickpea research field at the Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center (DZARC) showcased several sets of screening trials. One was a set of chickpea lines which were screened and selected for blight resistance during the main season (September 2014 – January 2015) at blight hotspots of Minjar, Dhera and Alem Tena in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. They are currently being screened (off-season trial) for fusarium wilt resistance at the sick plot in DZARC. Another set of chickpea germplasm is being screened for fusarium wilt resistance during this off-season ahead of further screening at hotspot areas for ascochyta blight during the coming main cropping season. One more set of trials are F4 segregation populations sourced from (ICARDA.

Adapted from ICRISAT Happenings