In a region where pigeonpea had completely disappeared, farmers, especially women, are being encouraged to again grow pigeonpea for enhanced incomes and improving soil fertility.

In Jagmalpura and Rampuravas villages of Rajasthan, India, farmers have been convinced to grow early-duration pigeonpea varieties on 200 ha. At a training-cum-planning workshop, Dr Anupama Hingane, Special Project Scientist, Pigeonpea Breeding, ICRISAT, gave detailed information about benefits of pigeonpea crop, and requested men to support their wives and daughters to actively participate not only in farm activities but also in post-harvest processing and marketing of pigeonpea. She also encouraged women groups to participate in initiatives like mini dal mills, making baskets from pigeonpea stalks, post-harvest processing and making products like pakodas (fritters) from pigeonpea flour.

A group of 50 young women from Rampuravas led by village head Ms Ghyani Devi, expressed their willingness to take up pigeonpea cultivation and seed production on their farms. Dr Hingane shared the success story of Padasoli village where women farmers participate in activities like dal processing and other post-harvest processing activities.

Earlier this region used to produce pigeonpea, but local varieties were susceptible to diseases and took 160 days to mature. As a result farmers could not prepare the land in time for rabi (post-rainy) sowing. Another problem was availability of quality seed. Over time pigeonpea cultivation vanished from these regions.

Project: Enhancing the livelihoods of resource-poor farmers of Rajasthan through the introduction of ecofriendly pigeonpea varieties

Investor: Directorate of Agriculture, Government of Rajasthan in collaboration with Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Agricultural University, Bikaner, under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana

Partners: Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Agricultural University, Bikaner and ICRISAT

Source: Adapted from ICRISAT Happenings