Chickpea Impacts

South and Southeast Asia

Policy bias in favor of cereals has made chickpeas less attractive for cultivation in their traditional high-yield zone of the Indo-Gangetic Plains, resulting in large deficits in chickpea production requiring costly imports. Breeders have therefore adapted the crop to hotter, drier, shorter seasons on the Deccan Plateau area of Andhra Pradesh state. Earlier-maturing, heat tolerant high-value chickpea varieties from ICRISAT, particularly JG11 have more than doubled yields, from 600 to 1400 kg/ha in Andhra Pradesh, stimulating a fourfold increase in sown area from 160,000 to 630,000 hectares (ICRISAT 2010). The added value of grain is US$69 million annually reaped by 6 million people in rural farm households.

In Myanmar chickpea is mainly grown in the central dry zone of the country, on an estimated area of 200,000 hectares. Strong collaboration between the Department of Agricultural Research (DAR) and ICRISAT led to the release of six chickpea varieties over the past 15 years, which now occupy  about 82% of the country’s total chickpea area. Yezin 3 (ICCV 2) is the most widely adopted variety, grown on about 55% of the total area, followed by Yezin 4 (ICCV 88202) at 22%, Yezin 5 (ICCV 3) at 4% and Yezin 6 (ICCV 92944) at 1% (Than et al. 2007).

In Nepal six improved chickpea varieties have been released over the last two decades. About 8% of farmers used improved varieties in 1999/2000 with the highest adoption in the western region. Reasons reported for non-adoption were non-availability of seed and lack of knowledge about improved management practices and integrated pest management (Pande et al. 2005).

Eastern and Southern Africa

Improved varieties from the CGIAR combined with effective extension by the national program EIAR in East Shewa Zone of Oromia region have delivered major impact in Ethiopia. Chickpea yields increased by 90% (2003-05 average compared with 2008) and a 40% increase nationwide (Abate et al. 2011). Total production doubled to 312,000 tons from 2003-05 to 2008, multiplying chickpea export earnings 26-fold, from US$1 million in 2004 to US$26 million by 2008.

Central and West Asia and North Africa

Research on winter chickpeas by the Syrian national research program and ICARDA created the elements for significant increases in production of this important crop (Mazid et al. 2009). Until recently, farmers in CWANA avoided winter sowing to reduce the risk of severe winter weather and Ascochyta blight disease. Improved winter varieties have now been widely adopted, particularly by poorer farmers. Yield increases compared with spring-sown chickpea ranged from 33 to 61 percent and net farm income rose by US$220.


Abate, T, Shiferaw, B, Gebeyehu, S, Amsalu, B, Negash, K, Assefa, K, Eshete, M, Aliye, S and Hagmann, J. 2011. A systems and partnership approach to agricultural research for development – lessons from Ethiopia. Outlook on Agriculture 40 (3):213-220.

ICRISAT. 2010. A “C-Change” in Southern India. Pages 8-9 in ICRISAT Annual Report 2010: Inclusive Market-Oriented Development. Patancheru, India: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. Published in 2011. Download (2.2 mb pdf) at

Mazid A, Amegbeto K, Shideed K and Malhotra R. 2009. Impact of crop improvement and management: winter-sown chickpea in Syria. ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria.

Pande S, Stevenson PC, Rao JN, Neupane RK, Grzywacz D, Bourai VA and Kishore GK. 2005. Reviving chickpea production in Nepal through integrated crop management, with emphasis on Botrytis gray mold. Plant Disease 89(12):1252-1262.

Than AM, Maw JB, Aung T, Gaur PM and Gowda CLL. 2007. Development and adoption of improved chickpea varieties in Myanmar. Journal of SAT Agricultural Research 5(1):1-3.

Grain Legumes

Grain Legumes is a partnership among four CGIAR Research Institutes: ICRISAT as lead center, CIAT, ICARDA and IITA, along with several public and private institutes and organizations, governments, and farmers worldwide.

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