Increasing numbers of women farmers are adopting pigeonpea cultivation in the state of Rajasthan, India. Convinced by the returns gained by the farmers in the villages of Jaipur district, 100 women from four villages of Alwar district have expressed their willingness to take up pigeonpea seed production on their farms.

Recognizing the important role played by women in agriculture, a new initiative is being undertaken by ICRISAT’s pigeonpea breeding team to encourage the involvement of women farmers from Rajasthan in pigeonpea seed production and post-harvest processing.

In line with the efforts, an awareness and training-cum-planning program was organized by ICRISAT at Mundia village of Alwar district on 27 May.

At the event, women farmers received guidance on pigeonpea cultivation along with an estimate on the costs incurred. They were also briefed on other value adding activities such as dal making, processing and packing, and marketing which could lead to extra income. Efforts to train women in weaving baskets out of dried stalks of the crop are underway. This effort would be targeted at girls and women who may not otherwise be engaged in other farming activities in order to provide them gainful employment.

The technical experts who interacted with the farmers and responded to their queries included
Dr Anupama Hingane, Principal Investigator and Special project Scientist, ICRISAT, Dr SJ Singh,State Coordinator and Scientist-in-Charge and  Mr Uttam Chand, Scientific officer, Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute, Durgapura.

The women farmers who expressed an interest in taking to pigeonpea cultivation would receive further training from ICRISAT scientist in farmers’ fields and also at the institute’s headquarters. To raise the income of women farmers, dal mills would be installed in target villages, to generate employment opportunities for women.

In the ongoing pigeonpea project in Rajasthan, ICRISAT in collaboration with Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Agricultural University, Bikaner, Rajasthan, aims to introduce and expand the production of pigeonpea through farmer participatory mode.

During the 2014 cropping season an area of 1,400 ha across nine districts of Rajasthan (Jaipur, Dausa, Alwar, Karoli, Sawai Madhopur, Bharatpur, Tonk Dhaulpur and Ajmer) will be covered by a short-duration pigeonpea variety ( ICPL 88039)developed by ICRISAT. This activity will be conducted under the project “Enhancing the livelihoods of resource-poor farmers of Rajasthan through the introduction of eco-friendly pigeonpea varieties” in collaboration with the Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute, Durgapura. The activity was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes.

Adapted from ICRISAT Happenings