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Pigeonpea breeding in Eastern and Southern Africa: achievements and future prospects

Ganga Rao, N.V.P.R., Silim, S.N., Siambi, M., Monyo, E.S., Lyimo, S., Ubwe, R., Kananji, G.A.D., Obong, Y., Sameer Kumar, C.V., Gowda, C.L.L., Manuel, A., Upadhyaya, H.D. and Varshney, R.K.ORCID: 0000-0002-4562-9131 (2014) Pigeonpea breeding in Eastern and Southern Africa: achievements and future prospects. In: 6th International Food Legume Research Conference/7th International Conference on Legume Genetics and Genomics, 7 - 11 July 2014, TCU Place Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Pigeonpea is no more an orphan crop in Eastern and southern Africa(ESA), with its multiple benefits to cropping systems, smallholder farmers, consumers and traders. pigeonpea has huge regional and international export potential and india alone imports 506,000 t annually. ESA countries export about 200,000 t of grain per year that worth $ 180 million. During the last two decades, area and production in ESA increased dramatically by 135% and 125%, respectively. Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda are the major pigeonpea producers. Tanzania and Malawi are showing the path to success in terms of productivity and production gains that guide other countries to follow. Pigeonpea improvement in ESA started in 1992 and since then 27 high yielding varieties were released and adopted them widely. The major breeding priorities were high grain yield, inter-cropping compatibility, photo-period insensitivity, grain quality, resistance/tolerance to Fusarium wilt, Helicoverpa pod borer and resilience to climate change. ESA has unique genetic diversity and its use in genetic enhancement has paid rich dividends. Tremendous yield gains have been recoreded with the use of new varieties, integated crop management, effective seed systems and sustained market demand. However, a huge gap still exists between realizable and actual yields with present technologies. ICRISAT-Patancheru is utilizing hybrid pigeonpea technology, genomic and genetic resources most effectively. Efforts are being made to use them in ESA breeding program to further elevate yield potentials in the region. A region specific strategy being outlined to bridge the gaps between actual, realized and potential yields using conventional and modern breeding by involving all the stakeholders.

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