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New Protocols for Pigeonpea: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)


Prelims: Economy (Agriculture, crops), Pigeonpea,  ICRISAT, Glycaemic Index

Mains: General Studies-III  Major Crops – Cropping Patterns in various parts of the country, – Different Types of Irrigation and Irrigation Systems; Storage, Transport and Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Issues and Related Constraints; E-technology in the aid of farmers.

Why in the News ?

According to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) a new fast-breeding protocol is likely to make it easier for scientists to develop better quality varieties of the pigeonpea crop at a faster rate.

Source: DTE 

📌 FYI on Prelims

Glycemic Index (GI)

  • GI is a number from 0 to 100 assigned to food, with pure glucose arbitrarily given the value of 100, which represents the relative rise in the blood glucose level two hours after consuming that food.
  • The GI of a specific food depends primarily on the quantity and type of carbohydrate it contains.
  • But it is also affected by the amount of entrapment of the carbohydrate molecules within the food, the fat and protein content of the food, the number of organic acids (or their salts) in the food, and whether it is cooked and, if so, how it is cooked.
  • A food is considered to have a low GI if it is 55 or less; high GI if 70 or more, and mid-range GI if 56 to 69.


  • Pigeonpea

    • It is also called as arhar and tur in India.
    • It is an important legume crop and protein-rich food which is primarily consumed as dal in India.
    • It is predominantly a crop of tropical areas mainly cultivated in semi arid regions of India
    • Climatic conditions: 
      • Rain: It requires 600-650mm of annual rainfall along with moist conditions for the initial eight weeks and dry conditions during its flowering and pod development phase.
      • Temperature: It can be grown with a temperature ranging from 260C to 300C in the rainy season and 170C to 220C in the post rainy (November to March) season.
      • Soil: It can be grown on all types of soil, however, sandy loam or loam soil is most suitable for its cultivation.
      • It is very sensitive to low radiation at pod development, therefore flowering during the monsoon and cloudy weather, leads to poor pod formation.
    • It is commonly intercropped with a wide range of crops. In India, it was estimated that 80 – 90 % of the pigeonpea were intercropped.
    • The important diseases of Pigeon pea are Wilt, Sterility mosaic disease, Phytophthora blight, Alternaria blight and Powdery mildew etc.
    • Concern: The Pigeonpea’s long growth cycle and sensitivity to day length have hindered breeding efforts, with only about 250 varieties released globally over six decades.
    • Health benefits: It has low glycaemic index and is rich in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin A, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
    • Major Pigeon pea producing states: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.
  • New protocols of ICRISAT

    • The new convention promises to substantially cut the time required to develop new Pigeonpea lines with desirable traits, effectively bringing food to dryland communities faster.
    • The new protocol shortens the breeding and control over factors like photoperiod, temperature, humidity, and breeding cycle to 2 to 4 years while the traditional Pigeonpea breeding takes up to 13 years. 
  • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)

    • It is a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world.
    • HQ:  Hyderabad, Telangana, India, with two regional hubs and six country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. 
    • Functions: 
      • It helps farmers by providing improved crop varieties and hybrids and also helps smallholder farmers in the drylands fight climate change.
      • ICRISAT and its partners help empower these poor people to overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment through better agriculture.
      • It conducts research protecting the environment. 
    • It has been awarded the 2021 Africa Food Prize, for work that has improved food security across 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.


Prelims: PYQ/FAQ

Q.With reference to the Genetically Modified mustard (GM mustard) developed in India, consider the following statements:

  1. GM mustard has the genes of a soil bacterium that give the plant the property of pest-resistance to a wide variety of pests.
  2. GM mustard has the genes that allow the plant cross-pollination and hybridization.
  3. GM mustard has been developed jointly by the IARI and Punjab Agricultural University.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A) 1 and 3 only

B) 2 only

C) 2 and 3 only

D) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: b. 2 only


  • GM mustard has been developed with the genes that make it resistant to pests like aphids and whiteflies, not from a soil bacterium.. 
  • GM mustard has been developed to cross-pollinate and hybridize, which allows for better yield and quality. 
  • GM mustard has been developed by the Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) in collaboration with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

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