With an objective to promote pigeonpea cultivation among smallholder farmers in Uganda, the Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (NgeZARDI) in partnership with ICRISAT Nairobi conducted a training program on ‘Integrated pigeonpea management technology’ on 14 March in Lira, Uganda. Twenty-six participants, including research assistants from NgeZARDI and officers from agricultural extension and National Agricultural Advisory Services in four project target districts namely Alebtong, Kitgum, Lira and Pader, were trained in agronomy, disease and insect management. The training activity was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes.

Mr Yuventino Obong from NgeZARDI gave the participants an overview of the activities in the project areas. He mentioned that Uganda’s partnership with ICRISAT has led to the release of two pigeonpea varieties, SEPI-I (KAT 60/8) and SEPI-II (ICPL 87091). Currently, four medium-duration varieties (ICEAPs 00540, 00554, 00557 and 00850) selected through Farmer Participatory Varietal Selection (FPVS) trials are in their final year of National Performance Trials (NPT), while two of them are likely to be released soon.

Pigeonpea is a well-adapted crop in the project areas, but is faced with challenges in terms of pest management and availability of quality seed of improved varieties.

“Pigeonpea is an interesting crop in these areas owing to its high production, adaptability and multiple uses. We should therefore consolidate our efforts in promoting it,” said Mr Y Obong during the training.

Mr Ibrahim Shiundu and Mr Geoffrey Mutai, Research Technicians from ICRISAT Nairobi, emphasized on the importance of integrated approaches to pest and disease management including use of quality seed, early planting and timely farm operations, among others. Meanwhile, the participants highlighted the availability of fertile land for seed production, existing value addition techniques, rising demand for pigeonpea, and government intervention in crop promotion as major opportunities to increase pigeonpea production.

The ICRISAT team together with NgeZARDI officials also met with the members of the ALITO joint Christian farmers group which engages in production of quality-declared seed of various crops.

The session concluded with a talk show on the local radio Wa, featuring Mr Y Obong, Mr G Mutai and Mr I Shiundu as guests. Listeners were explained the objectives of ICRISAT’s partnership with NgeZARDI in promoting improved pigeonpea varieties in the region. One of the listeners, during the talk show testified over the phone, on the impact of the activities and ever-increasing seed demand of improved ICRISAT medium-duration pigeonpea varieties. He added that the varieties were high-yielding and early-maturing compared to their local landraces.

ICRISAT is currently leading the implementation of the Tropical Legumes II project in Uganda, and its activities in partnership with the EU – International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) are spread all over Northern Uganda. NgeZARDI is a wing of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) in Uganda.

Adapted from: ICRISAT Happenings