See more from this Session: General Global Agronomy: II
Wednesday, October 19, 2011: 11:05 AM
Hilton Palacio del Rio, Corte Real DEF, Concourse Level
Bulk of the population in India depends upon food legumes for dietary protein, minerals and vitamins. However, the production of food legumes has remained stagnant since 1950 causing reduced per capita availability and high prices. This is partly because most of the good lands are being used for the green revolution led cereals like wheat and rice and pulses have been pushed to marginal lands. Therefore, a project was initiated to introduce photo-insensitive and heat tolerant short duration cowpea varieties as a niche crop in the wheat-rice system in India. Wheat is harvested from late March and rice is transplanted from late June leaving about 80-90 days gap in which a short duration food legume can be grown. The project has identified two varieties, IT 98K-205-8 and IT97K-1042-3 with consistent yield of about 1.5t ha-1 grain within 65 to 70 days. These were released as ‘Pant Lobia-1’ and ‘Pant Lobia-2’ by Uttarakhand Government in 2008 and 2010 respectively. The protein contents of ‘Pant Lobia-1’ is about 27% and ‘Pant Lobia-2’ is about 30% with 65ppm to 77ppm iron and 40-45 ppm zinc. Also, the popular food dishes prepared from the two varieties were rated as good or better than the local varieties. The successful ‘wheat-cowpea-rice’ system is of extra-ordinary significance. The potential area under this system in northern India is about 10 million ha which may produce an extra 10-15 million tons of cowpea in the coming decades. This would meet most of the pulse requirement of the country in the 21st century. Also, these and other ‘60-day’ cowpea varieties are being tested and have shown the potential of double cropping with rice in Asia, with maize in Africa, with wheat in USA and with soybean in Brazil providing opportunity for manifold increase in global cowpea production without bringing extra land in cultivation.