Biotech Updates

US-Indian Project to Develop Improved Pigeonpea Cultivars

February 6, 2013

A pigeonpea molecular breeding project between the United States and India was recently launched in Hyderabad to help boost food, nutrition and income security of the world's dryland poor. The three-year project, named "Pigeonpea Improvement Using Molecular Breeding," will receive support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) India Mission, and will be implemented by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) together with various government research institutions in India.

The project have research component during its first phase, and application component in the second phase. Dr. William Dar, ICRISAT Director General, said that under the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes led by ICRISAT, genomic research plays a crucial role in speeding up the development of improved varieties for smallholder farmer crops such as pigeonpea.

The project team looks forward to enhancing pigeonpea productivity to help ensure food security in India, the world's largest producer, consumer, and importer of pigeonpea; and boost farmer income in Africa, where the crop is grown partly for export to India, but grown mostly in marginal environments.

To learn more about this partnership, read the ICRISAT news release available at