Photo credit: ICRISAT

Farmers conducting participatory variety selection in Lundazi district in Zambia (Inset) ICEAP 00554. Photo: ICRISAT


A new medium duration pigeonpea variety MPPV 2 (ICEAP 00554) was released for general cultivation in sole and intercropping systems of Zambia. The new variety has many profitable traits. It has wider climate adaptability and pest tolerance, high yield potential, attractive grains and is suitable to ratooning and can be used as green peas. Pigeonpea is gaining popularity in Zambia, due to its climate adaptability, suitability to prevailing cropping systems, farmers and consumers preference and market opportunities.

MPPV 2 is a distinct, stable and uniform variety with non-determinate and semi-spreading growth habit. It flowers in about 85-90 days and matures in 150-160 days. Each pod contains 6-7 seeds. Shellability of green pods is excellent and the variety is suitable for ratooning.  Seeds are large white/cream with 100-seed mass of 17-19 g. It has excellent dehulling quality of up to 85% and therefore suitable for processing. The potential yield of immature grain is 7-10 tons per hectare and dry grain is 1.8-3.4 tons per hectare.

For over 15 years, Zambia had only one officially released improved pigeonpea variety which was of long duration. Over the years the yields from this variety started dwindling due to climate change characterized by shorter seasons. Therefore the new variety was released by fast tracking efforts after several on-station trials, farmer participatory varietal selection trials, large-scale demonstrations and seed bulking.

Read the full article: Icrisat

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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