Selecting elite chickpea breeding lines and knowledge sharing

Scientists inspecting and selecting chickpea breeding lines. Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT

Scientists inspecting and selecting chickpea breeding lines. Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT

During the chickpea scientists’ meeting at ICRISAT, participants selected a large number of breeding lines from various fields for further research. These lines will be supplied to them after harvest.

Dr GP Dixit, Project Coordinator, All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Chickpea presented salient achievements of AICRP on chickpea for the past two years. He expressed his concern on finding a replacement for the mega varieties such as JG 11 and JAKI 9218. He indicated that the current priority areas of AICRP on chickpea include utilization of wild species and the land races and restructuring of plant type with improved nutrient and water use efficiency. He emphasized on the use of molybdenum in chickpea grown after soybean, which showed promising results in several demonstrations
across India.

The developments in chickpea research at ICRISAT with partners was explained by Dr Pooran Gaur, Theme Leader-Crop Improvement, ICRISAT, India. He highlighted the significant progress made in the development of breeding lines with improved drought and heat tolerance and suitability to machine harvesting.

A brief account of the strategies to attain chickpea self-sufficiency in India was delivered by Dr NP Singh, Director, Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR). He emphasized on: enhancing area under rice-fallows; productivity gains (through adoption of improved varieties and production technologies); and policy support required to make farming profitable to farmers. He also emphasized that pulses should be brought into the public distribution system and mid-day meal schemes for providing nutritional benefits to children and economically weaker households.

A special session was organized on ‘Breeding Management System (BMS)’ in which Dr Abhisekh Rathore, Theme Leader-Statistics, Bioinformatics & Data Management, ICRISAT, India, and his team presented various features of BMS to the participants. The BMS is a suite of interconnected software specifically designed to help plant breeders manage their daily activities through all phases of the breeding programs.

During the closing session, progress on the advancement of transgenic chickpea and pigeonpea was discussed. It was also emphasized that dry root rot is emerging as a major disease of chickpea in central and southern India. There is a need to strengthen efforts for identification of sources of resistance from the germplasm of cultivated and wild species, and understanding variability in the pathogen.

The annual chickpea scientists’ meet took place at ICRISAT India on 5 – 6 January and was jointly organized by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and ICRISAT. Thirty seven scientists from 17 states of India, working in various ICAR institutes and state agricultural universities and 20 scientists from ICRISAT attended the meeting.  The next chickpea scientists’ meet will be organized at IIPR, Kanpur in March 2018.

ICAR-ICRISAT partnership in chickpea improvement research has been effective in the development of improved varieties. The breeding materials supplied by ICRISAT to ICAR institutes and state agricultural universities have led to the release of 42 varieties (29 desi and 13 kabuli) in India. Nineteen of these varieties (JAKI 9218, JG 11, JG 14, JG 130, Virat, JG 16, Vishal, JG 6, KAK 2, RVG 201, JGK 3, RVG 203, JGK 2, Vaibhav, GG 4, Pratap Chana 1, Ujjawal, Himachal Chana 2, NBeG 3) are in the seed chain and have a share of 53% in the total indent of chickpea breeder seed in India for 2017-18.

The scientists also visited various field experiments, laboratories and controlled environment research facilities. The meeting had aimed to bring together chickpea scientists from all over India for sharing knowledge on recent developments in chickpea research, and to provide an opportunity to Indian scientists for selecting breeding materials and germplasm of their interest from ICRISAT.

For more information on ICRISAT’s work on chickpea click here

This work contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal

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