Improved Lentil Varieties Boost Production in South Asia and Africa
The International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), along with its local collaborators in South Asia and Africa have produced new lentil varieties that helped increase its yields in regions where the crop is a crucial food staple like North Africa and South Asia. Lentil is a crop that belongs to the legume family.
In South Asia, ICARDA has collaborated with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) which resulted to the development of short-duration, high-yielding and disease-resistant lentil varieties. They are grown in the post-rainy season; usually about half as a sole crop and half intercropped with other crops. Increased lentil yields also allow many Bangladeshi farmers to turn part of their land over to other crops and eliminate the need to find new growing areas. It is estimated that around 5.5 million people, including about 1.1 million smallholder farmers, are directly benefiting from improved BARI/ICARDA lentil technologies.
In Africa, ICARDA has partnered with the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research and their joint legumes program has delivered lentils that yield six times the harvest of its conventional counterpart. An IFPRI 2010 impact study, Pulses Value Chain in Ethiopia, shows that the high-yielding, rust- and wilt-resistant lentil varieties in Ethiopia led to an increase in lentil production of 23,777 tonnes in the 2009/2010 cropping season. The study also shows that lentils contribute significantly to Ethiopia's balance of payments, with the legume now sitting amongst the top export crops, alongside coffee and sesame.
For more information, visit http://www.cgiar.org/consortium-news/the-magic-of-the-humble-lentil/.
This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)