New variety of chickpea helps Bangladeshi farmers fight climate change
A new variety of chickpea, which is heat-tolerant, resistant to Botrytis grey mold (BGM) and also high-yielding, was released as BARI Chola-10 in Bangladesh. Based on ICRISAT variety ICCV 92944, this variety is expected to provide some relief to farmers in Bangladesh, which is often cited as one of the countries most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.
The cropping system in Bangladesh is mainly rice based and chickpea is grown after the rice harvest. About 800,000 ha land of the high Barind tract in northwestern Bangladesh, which remain fallow after rice cultivation, can potentially be brought under chickpea cultivation. However, chickpea sowing is often delayed (up to December) due to late harvest of rice. As a result, the chickpea crop is exposed to heat stress during its reproductive phase. Heat stress, identified as one of the major constraints to chickpea production in Bangladesh, adversely affects pollen viability, pod set and grain yield.
ICRISAT has been working closely with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), for developing improved lines of chickpea adapted to local conditions, and has supplied over 9,000 breeding lines to Bangladesh. So far, six varieties of improved chickpea have been released from the breeding materials supplied by ICRISAT. These are Nabin (ICCL 81248), BARI Chola-2 (ICCV 10), BARI Chola-3 (ICCL 83105), BARI Chola-4 (ICCL 85222), BARI Chola-6 (ICCL 83149), BARI Chola-8 (ICCV 88003) and BARI Chola-9 (ICCV 95318).
Chickpea is one of the most important pulse crops in Bangladesh based on consumption. The domestic demand for chickpea exceeds the local supply and the deficit is met through imports. Bangladesh imported 205,000 tons of chickpea worth USD 127 million in 2013. In Bangladesh, chickpea is consumed in various forms after primary processing, i.e., dehulling, splitting, grinding, parching and roasting. Desi chickpea is consumed in different forms—fresh green seed, dried whole seed, roasted and puffed, roasted and split (phutana dhal), splits (dhal) and flour (besan). Splits and flour are the most common forms of consumption (70-75%) followed by whole seed (15-20%). Desi chickpea is more preferred by Bangladeshi consumers than the kabuli type.
There is an increasing focus on chickpea production in Bangladesh for (1) meeting the domestic demand and (2) diversification of rice-based cropping system with legumes, which can help in improving soil fertility and system productivity. It is hoped that the newly released variety BARI Chola-10 would be rapidly adopted by farmers and contribute to expanding chickpea area and production in Bangladesh.
This improved variety, developed at ICRISAT-India and released on 27 March in Bangladesh, was developed as part of the Tropical Legumes II (TL II) project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bangladesh is one of the target countries under the TL II project. The chickpea lines supplied by ICRISAT were first evaluated at Pulses Research Center (PRC), Ishurdi, Pabna. The selected lines from the station trial were then evaluated in multi-location trials in Ishurdi, Gazipur, Madaripur, Barishal, Jessore and Rajshahi districts. They were also ranked in farmer participatory varietal selection trials by 680 farmers (571 men + 109 women).
The breeding line ICCV 92944 has been earlier released in India (as JG 14), Myanmar (as Yezin 6) and Kenya (as Chania Desi 2). In India, the cultivation of JG 14 is spreading in many states including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha. JG 14 is currently among the top 10 indented chickpea varieties for breeder seed in India. In Myanmar, Yezin 6 currently covers about 20% of the chickpea area. Thus, the heat-tolerant chickpea varieties are in high demand in areas where the crop is prone to heat stress during the reproductive phase.
Dr Md Jahangir Alam, Scientific Officer (Chickpea Breeding), PRC, Ishurdi, is the lead scientist for release
of this variety. Other collaborating scientists include Dr AKM Mahabubul Alam, Md Shahin Iqbal, Md Golam Azam, Dr Md Altaf Hossain, Dr M Mostofa Kamal, Dr Md Omar Ali, Dr Md Ashraf Hossain, Shaikh Mostafa Zaman and Dr Mohammad Hossain.
More about ICRISAT’s work in Bangladesh
More about ICRISAT’s work on chickpea