The main objectives are as follows :
* Develop high-yielding cultivars of pigeonpea combining pest/disease resistance, drought tolerance and good seed quality.
* Optimise crop management of pigeonpea and cereals in multiple cropping systems of the semi arid areas of East Africa using improved varieties.
It is expected to increase the average dry seed yield of pigeonpea by 20 % through the development of new breeding lines resistant and tolerant to diseases, pests (top priorities) and drought and through better intercropping management. This will lead to the improvement of the quantity, the quality (protein) and the distribution of food produced in the dry areas of Kenya and Uganda. Better growth vigour and productions in pigeonpea will also enhance nitrogen fixation and soil conservation and ensure higher availability of residues and foliage for livestock feeding. The work carried out in this project should lead to the development of refined breeding schemes for intercropping situations, with respect to the specific criteria of selection of pigeonpea cropping systems in the semi arid areas of East Africa and to the development of agronomic management/genetic enhancement strategies to alleviate pest/diseases effects and drought stress in the target region.
The key activities envisaged are :
* Build up of a working collection for pigeonpea. Land races and wild relatives will be collected in Kenya and Uganda in the areas of highest genetic diversity. Already advanced breeding lines fitted to the target region will be gathered from local and international research institutions.
* Survey of the semi arid areas of the target regions. The major cropping systems of the pigeonpea growing regions will be identified and their major constraints (biotic/abiotic) will be listed in order to establish possible relationships between agroecological zones, cropping systems and types of pigeonpea.
* Screening / breeding. As the major purpose of the breeding programme is to select for intercrop combinations, traits showing little interaction with cropping systems or high heritability and those required specifically for the associations or showing low heritability will be considered separately. The first traits will concern wide range of growth duration and habits, good seed quality (size and colour) and diseases/pests resistance. They will be screened in sole cropping system. The second traits will concern mainly drought tolerance, competitive ability, shade tolerance, population density response. They will be screened in intercrops.
* Crop husbandry of intercropping systems. Improved intercropping designs will be developed in on-station and on farm trials testing mainly the following factors : population density, spatial arrangement and sowing time of each component The incidence of the main pests/diseases will be also assessed in each new intercropping system.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts