10 new chickpea varieties released in 2020 in collaboration with NARS
Market-driven chickpea innovations record many firsts in Africa and Asia.
To meet the growing global market demand for protein-rich chickpea, scientists have created new varieties that would contribute to greater nutrition security, health and climate resilience and replace existing obsolete varieties. In 2020, despite pandemic constraints, 10 new varieties (6 desi and 4 kabuli) were released through effective collaborations with National Agricultural Research Systems in Africa and Asia. The releases have recorded many firsts in terms of innovations in South and Southeast Asia and Eastern and Southern Africa – regions that together contribute to 73% of the global chickpea production (http://www.fao.org/faostat/).
In 2020, Malawi officially released its first chickpea varieties bred for high yield, climate resilience and nutrition, while an ascochyta blight-resistant, high-yielding desi variety was released in Ethiopia. In India, machine-harvestable chickpea made inroads into Central India as quicker harvest time saved the crop from unseasonal rain, while large-seeded kabuli varieties (39-45 g weight of 100 seed) commanding premium prices in global markets were bred to suit agro-ecologies across north, west, central and south India and provide a replacement for old varieties.