Pigeon pea

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According to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) a new fast-breeding protocol is likely to make it easier for scientists to develop better quality varieties of the pigeonpea crop at a faster rate.

About Pigeonpea

  • It is also called as arhar and tur in India.
  • It is an important legume crop and protein-rich food which is primarily consumed as dal in India.
  • It is predominantly a crop of tropical areas mainly cultivated in semi arid regions of India.
  • Climatic conditions
    • Rain: It requires 600-650mm of annual rainfall along with moist conditions for the initial eight weeks and dry conditions during its flowering and pod development phase.
    • Temperature: It can be grown with a temperature ranging from 260C to 300C in the rainy season and 170C to 220C in the post rainy (November to March) season.
    • Soil: It can be grown on all types of soil, however, sandy loam or loam soil is most suitable for its cultivation.
    • It is very sensitive to low radiation at pod development, therefore flowering during the monsoon and cloudy weather, leads to poor pod formation.
  • It is commonly intercropped with a wide range of crops. In India, it was estimated that 80 - 90 % of the pigeonpea were intercropped.
  • The important diseases of Pigeon pea are Wilt, Sterility mosaic disease, Phytophthora blight, Alternaria blight and Powdery mildew etc.
  • Concern: The Pigeonpea’s long growth cycle and sensitivity to day length have hindered breeding efforts, with only about 250 varieties released globally over six decades.
  • Health benefits: It has low glycaemic index and is rich in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin A, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
  • Major Pigeon pea producing states: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

New protocols of ICRISAT

  • The new convention promises to substantially cut the time required to develop new Pigeonpea lines with desirable traits, effectively bringing food to dryland communities faster.
  • The new protocol shortens the breeding and control over factors like photoperiod, temperature, humidity, and breeding cycle to 2 to 4 years while the traditional Pigeonpea breeding takes up to 13 years. 

Q1) What is the glycaemic index (GI)?

The glycaemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.

Source: New protocol can reduce breeding cycle of pigeonpea by 3-5 years, important for nutritional security in drylands