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Pigeonpea

Overview

Crop Pigeonpea Cajanus Center of origin: SAS

Pigeonpea is an important crop for small-scale farmers in semi-arid areas. Pigeonpea is drought resistant and can be grown in areas with less than 650mm annual rainfall, and with low input requirements.

Pigeonpea makes an important contribution to nutrition in subsistence diets, as it contains vitamin B and high levels of protein with important amino acids. Farmers most commonly cultivate pigeonpea in association with grain crops such as maize, sorghum or millet. The grain is described as having a nutty, earthy flavor.

The pigeonpea has a range of diverse uses. The seeds can be eaten fresh, as a vegetable, or dry in “dhal” – a South Asian staple. The seedpods and the leaves are used to feed livestock, and the plants functions as a “living fence” as well as providing “green manure” in many home gardens. The dry stems are used both as fuel and construction material.

There is a great diversity of local cultivars. In India, in particular, there are pigeonpeas whose taste ranges from bitter to sweet, and whose color varies from black to creamy white. The crop exists both in annual and perennial forms.

Conserving forever in genebanks

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ICRISAT

Number of varieties available to the public
66.1% 9,014
Data available in genesys
94.7% 12,908

Breakdown of genebanks conserving Pigeonpea

  • ICRISAT 13,632 / 100%

The Crop Trust has supported 4 projects for Pigeonpea

  1. Kenya: The National Genebank, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate and characterize 340 pigeon pea accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  2. Philippines: The National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory (NPGRL) of the University of the Philippines Los Banos received an emergency grant from the Crop Trust for the rescue of its national germplasm collections, following the damage caused by the typhoon Milenyo in September 2006.
  3. Philippines: The Crop Trust supported the National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory (NPGRL) at the University of the Philippines Los Banos to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate 18 pigeon pea accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  4. Ghana: The Crop Trust supported Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute (PGRRI), CSIR, Ghana to collect and conserve 11 accessions of wild pigeon pea in 8 administrative regions of Ghana with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crop. 7 accessions are safety duplicated in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICRISAT) and Svalbard Global Seed Vault.