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Chickpea breeding and development efforts in Eastern and Southern Africa: Achievements and opportunities

Gang Rao, N.V.P.R., Ojiewo, C., Silim, S.N., Gaur, P.M., Gowda, C.L.L., Moses, S., Monyo, E.S., Fikre, A., Kileo, R., Kimurto, P., Thudi, M. and Varshney, R.K.ORCID: 0000-0002-4562-9131 (2014) Chickpea breeding and development efforts in Eastern and Southern Africa: Achievements and opportunities. In: 6th International Food Legume Research Conference/7th International Conference on Legume Genetics and Genomics, 7 - 11 July 2014, TCU Place Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


In Eastern and Southern Africa(ESA), chickpea is grown on about 493,000 ha. Ethiopia and Tanzania are the major chickpea growing countries by occupying 73% of total ESA area, and minor producing countries are Malawi, Kenya, Eritrea, Sudan and Uganda. Chickpea provides a unique oppourtunity to grow in post-rainy season under residual moisture conditions. Ethiopia is the major chickpea producer and exporter in ESA and during last one decade production(119%) and productivity(78%) have increased substantially. Ethiopia and Tanzania export a sizable quantities of chickpea and earning about 46.6 million $ annually. Chickpea improvement in ESA over the years resulted in release of 40 high yielding varieties with desirable agronomic and quality traits. The major breeding priorities in ESA were high grain yield, resistance to Fusarium wilt, collar rot, dry root rot and ascochyta blight;tolerance to Helicoverpa pod borer, terminal drought and grain quality traits. The current productivity levels in Ethiopia is about 1730 kg/ha and but in all other ESA countries productivity levels are still below 1000 kg/ha. The productivity gains in Ethiopia, providing an opportunity for cross learning among neighbouring countries. The new varieties and breeding populations developed by ICRISAT using conventional and molecular breeding approaches have been evaluated in ESA and their adaptability and adoption rates are very high. However, a huge untapped yield potential exists in the currently released as well as pipe line varieties. Better integration of available genomic and genetic resources in breeding, effective seed production and delivery, integrated crop management, wider stakeholder participation will provide an oppourtunity to futher enhance on-farm yields.

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