The Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has come up with an innovation in Pigeonpea breeding and announced the World’s first Pigeon pea speed breeding protocol, further strengthening food security in Asia and Africa. 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. 

According to an ICRISAT release, 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. 

Pigeonpea, a staple in tropical and subtropical diets, is crucial for food security and soil health globally and is lauded for its nutritional value and versatility. Director General ICRISAT, Dr

Jacqueline Hughes, said the pigeon pea speed breeding protocol represents a significant advancement for major pigeon pea-producing regions, paving the way for self-reliance in pulse production and meeting the dietary necessities of nations like India, Myanmar, Kenya, Tanzania, Myanmar, and Mozambique. 

The Director General said the achievement is particularly timely, coinciding with World Pulses Day celebrations, highlighting the global significance of pulses.
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. This new speed breeding protocol addresses these challenges head-on, enabling researchers to develop climate-resilient, nutritionally superior, and higher-yielding pigeonpea varieties at an unprecedented pace. 

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