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Pigeon Pea

22nd February, 2024 Agriculture

Pigeon Pea

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In News: New Fast-Breeding Protocol

  • Developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), this protocol will facilitate the development of better-quality pigeon pea varieties at a faster rate.
  • The protocol is expected to enhance food security in the drylands of Asia and Africa.

Importance of Pigeon Pea (Arhar/Tur)

  • Pigeon pea is crucial for India's nutritional security, being a protein-rich food primarily consumed as dal.
  • India is both the largest producer and importer of pigeon pea.

The New Fast-Breeding Protocol

Reduced Breeding Cycle

  • Typically, developing a new pigeon pea variety takes around 13 years. The new protocol can reduce this to 2-4 years.
  • The longer duration of pigeon pea crops is due to its short-day nature, photosensitivity, and seasonal specificity.

Ideal Conditions for Speed Breeding

  • Photoperiod of 13 h: 8 h: 13 h at vegetative: flowering: pod filling stages is recommended.
  • Broad spectrum light and far-red wavelength light are crucial for early crop establishment and flowering onset.
  • Under natural conditions, pigeon pea takes about four months to flower if sown in June, resulting in unwanted biomass accumulation.

Nutritional Value of Pigeon Pea

  • Pigeon pea has a low glycemic index and is rich in various nutrients like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins, and minerals.

Impact on Pulse Production

  • The new protocol will enhance self-reliance in pulse production, benefiting countries like India, Myanmar, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique.
  • ICRISAT has previously achieved success in speed breeding of other crops like wheat, barley, rice, cowpea, soybean, and amaranth.

Climate Resilience and Yield

  • Pigeon pea thrives in semi-arid regions, offering sustenance and income for farmers.
  • The new method can develop climate-resilient, nutritionally superior, and higher-yielding pigeon pea varieties at a faster pace.

Benefits for India

  • The new protocol will provide a stable supply of pigeon pea, especially beneficial when imports are disrupted.
  • In 2023, pigeon pea prices soared due to delayed shipments from the chief exporter, Mozambique, highlighting the need for self-reliance in production.

Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan)

Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) is a perennial legume plant from the family Fabaceae, commonly known as arhar or tur in India. It thrives in semi-arid tropical and subtropical regions, preferring well-drained soil and temperatures between 20°C and 30°C. Pigeon pea is known for its nitrogen-fixing abilities, which improve soil fertility. It is a valuable cash crop and a staple food in many cultures, especially in India, where it is used to make dal. Pigeon pea plants typically mature in about 5-6 months and are harvested when the pods turn brown and dry. However, the plant's long duration is due to its short-day nature and seasonal specificity, requiring specific conditions for flowering. Recent advancements in breeding techniques aim to reduce the breeding cycle to 2-4 years, enhancing food security in dryland areas of Asia and Africa.


Q. Pigeon pea is primarily grown in which type of climate?

A) Arctic

B) Temperate

C) Tropical

D) Mediterranean

Answer. C) Tropical