HYDERABAD: Two new varieties of drought-tolerant and disease-resistant chickpeas developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in collaboration with the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) and University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Raichur, will be launched for production in the country.
This decision was taken by the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) for Chickpea at its recently concluded 24th annual Group Meet.
The two chickpeas (Bengal chana) varieties — ‘Pusa 10216’ and ‘MABC-WR-SA-1’ — were developed in record time through a first-of-its-kind effort that involves genomics-assisted breeding.
Talking about the role of genomics in crop breeding, Dr Rajeev Varshney, Director for ICRISAT’s Genetic Gains Research Program, said both the varieties were developed in almost half the time it would have taken with conventional breeding.
Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Director General, ICAR and Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), said, “Genomics interventions in breeding, such as molecular breeding, will significantly enhance crop productivity of legumes like a chickpea.”
Dr Peter Carberry, Director General of ICRISAT, said, “I am sure such collaborative efforts of ICRISAT with partners will benefit smallholder farmers not only in India but also in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Dr Bharadwaj Chellapilla of IARI, said, “Pusa 10216, which is the first variety to have drought tolerance through molecular breeding, it was developed in just four years. It showed a 11.9 per cent increase in yield over Pusa 372 during two-year testing in drought conditions.”