Three on-going legume projects on pigeonpea, groundnut and chickpea supported  by the Government of Odisha was reviewed  by Mr Rajesh Verma, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Government of Odisha.

The thrust of the review meeting included: Promotion of improved cultivars and production technologies; seed system development; and capacity building of farmers. The three projects that are implemented by ICRISAT as part of CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes include: Promotion of improved chickpea varieties in rice-based cropping systems of smallholder farmers in Odisha Introduction and expansion of improved pigeonpea production technology in rainfed upland ecosystems of Odisha Scaling-up of improved groundnut varieties through established seed system in various cropping systems of smallholder farmers in Odisha.

Following were the major points discussed during the review:

Groundnut

Interstate seed multiplication: The seed multiplication ratio in kharif (rainy) season is very low (1:5) and consequently the quantity of certified seed produced is low. Further, the seed from kharif season planting has to reach the farmers for rabi (postrainy) season in a short window of two weeks. In situ germination results in poor performance of kharif harvested seed. Therefore, it was proposed to look at opportunities of taking up certified seed multiplication in neighboring states to supply seeds for rabi season in Odisha.

Mechanized harvesting: Groundnut harvesting is labor intensive and this increases the cost of production. Therefore it was proposed to introduce mechanized harvesting during the next season on pilot basis and depending on its success, mechanized harvesting would be expanded to larger areas.

Seed storage: In rabi season, the seed multiplication ratio is 1:8 in Odisha and can go as high as 1:15. To capitalize on this it was proposed to store seed for 6-7 months for planting in the next season. Use of large-scale seed storage facility with dehumidifier belonging to the Odisha State Seeds Corporation will be explored. For farmer-level seed storage Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) triple layer bags will be introduced on a pilot scale during rabi season. Earlier PICS bags were successfully tested by ICRISAT in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh to store groundnut seed for 6-7 months.

Pigeonpea

New lines for release: Hybrid ICPH 3762 is the first pigeonpea hybrid released in the state in 2014. New early duration varieties and hybrids for central Odisha and medium duration varieties for south western regions of the state are slated for release within the next two to three years.

New areas: From 2015-16 the project has been expanded to three new districts – Ganjam, Gajapati and Suvarnapur. Earlier during 2011-2015 high yielding varieties and hybrids were popularized, improved crop management technologies demonstrated and seed systems established in Kalahandi, Rayagada, Nuapada, Bolangir and Boudh districts of the state.

Chickpea

Sale of green plants by the farmers: This was identified as a major problem in developing a seed system for chickpea in Odisha. Mr Verma suggested that breeder seed to foundation seed production should be undertaken at government farms and progressive farmers should be involved in production of certified seed to the extent possible. He also suggested that the procurement price of chickpea seed from farmers should be announced in advance to prevent sale of green plants.

Suitable varieties to be identified: Varieties under farmer participatory varietal selection trials in neighboring states will be evaluated and varieties suitable for Odisha identified.

Seed storage: ICRISAT to supply 100 PICS triple-layered 50 kg and 100 kg bags to farmers at project locations to test their efficiency.

Work plan for chickpea

A detailed work plan meeting for chickpea was held as the cropping season begins this month end. The Principal Secretary proposed allotment of more area under seed production to meet the chickpea seed requirement of the state. He offered that the area under Government Agriculture Farms can be utilized for chickpea seed production mostly from breeder seed to foundation seed. In the meeting it was planned to take up seed production in 390 ha during 2015-16 rabi season, out of which 300 ha would be for foundation seed to certified seed and 90 ha for breeder seed to foundation seed. The varieties selected for seed production are JAKI 9218, Nandyal Sanaga-1 (NBeG 3), and Ujjawal.

The other members of the state-level delegation included: Mr Sarojkanta Das, Deputy Director of Agriculture (Pulse); Mr Nimai Charan Swain, State Consultant, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) Cell; Mr BK Dey, Agronomist, RKVY Cell; Mr RK Panda, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Keonjhar; Mr Kedarnath Mohapatra, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Sundergarh; Mr A Andia, Asst Agriculture Officer, Sundergarh; and Mr Sarat Kumar Tripathy, Consultant, ICRISAT.

The Principal Secretary also met Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT, and discussed the ongoing and future potential collaboration of ICRISAT with the Government of Odisha for enhancing agricultural production and farmers’ incomes in Odisha.

Adapted from ICRISAT Happenings