High-yielding, farmer and market preferred, drought, cold tolerant and disease resistant chickpea, lentil and faba beans varieties adapted to variable | Crop Management (Crop Varieties)

§ Chickpea, lentil and faba bean varietieswith high yield and tolerance to drought, water-logging, cold and diseases, toreduce detrimental effects of climate variability and change. § Cool-season food legumes (faba bean,chickpea, lentil, and grass pea) are the major highland crops grown inEthiopia. These are the major sources of food and nutriti Read more..

Description of the technology or innovation

§  Chickpea, lentil and faba bean varietieswith high yield and tolerance to drought, water-logging, cold and diseases, toreduce detrimental effects of climate variability and change.

§  Cool-season food legumes (faba bean,chickpea, lentil, and grass pea) are the major highland crops grown inEthiopia. These are the major sources of food and nutrition security, andprovide animal feed, and sustain cereal production through improving soilfertility and reduction of diseases and weeds. The productivity of these cropsis very low due to: low yielding varieties, problematic soil (waterlogging),poor agronomic practices, diseases, and parasitic weeds. In order to increasethe productivity and production of these legumes through breeding and improvedmanagement practices, ICARDA has played a central role mainly in providinggermplasm accessions, segregating populations and elite lines through itsinternational nursery platforms. The materials were used for direct varietal releaseby the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). Under climatechange, the adoption of varieties released from ICARDA international publicgood (IPG) along with management packages could ease the variable effects ofclimate.

§  The chickpea, lentil and faba beanvarieties have been tested by EIAR researchers for yield, and various bioticand abiotic stresses and released to farmers for general cultivation whereterminal drought, cold and waterlogging are critical problems.

§  EIAR has promoted three kabuli chickpeavarieties namely: Teji, Habru, Ejere; nine lentil varieties including, Chalew,Ada’a, Alemaya, Assano, Teshale and Alem Tena; and four faba bean varieties:Degaga, Moti, Gebelcho, Obsie, Walki. These varieties have been utilised by farmersin different agro-ecological regions of Ethiopia. The chickpea winter plantinginnovation developed by ICARDA was adopted by EIAR and has resulted in two- orthreefold and biomass increase in chickpea and lentil cultivars.

§  Some of the Kabuli chickpea and lentilcultivars have good levels of flexibility to be produced in differentagro-ecologies.

The improved varieties can be extended to othercountries in the region, such as the highlands of Eritrea, Kenya, and the greatlake region (Uganda, Tanzania, etc.).

Assessment/reflection on utilization, dissemination & scaling out or up approaches used

Scaling-up approaches used 

Theusers are the resource-poor farmers growing faba bean, chickpea and lentil onmarginal land or under residual moisture, or in areas with increased frequencyof drought events and extreme temperatures. The critical and essential factorsfor successful promotion and adoption of the technology/innovation include:

§  The existence of effectiveresearch–extension–farmer linkage systems.

§  Seed production and distribution, as theavailability of seed of the improved varieties is crucial for their diffusion.

§  Availability and access to input (e.g.fertilisers, seed, pesticides and water) is essential for the expression ofyield potentials of the improved varieties.

§  Organising farmers’ research groups isessential to promoting and diffusing the new varieties. Farmers were organisedas farmers’ research groups and able to multiply seeds and distributed to theirproduction areas in Ethiopia.

§  Linking farmers to markets is criticalto giving them better options for the utilisation of the crop harvest.

§  Access/availability of credit isessential, to promote the use of quality seed and inputs.

§  Policy promotion of pro-legumes policyto encourage their incorporation into the cereal-based production system toenhance sustainability.

Identifying new markets for new products, such asKabuli chickpea and green lentil, which are not part of current diet inEthiopia.

Current situation and future scaling up

The mainchallenges encountered in respect to further dissemination of the technology/innovation, adoption and scaling up / out were:

§  Unavailability of quality seed and otherproduction inputs large scale.

§  Non-adoption of full package includingvarieties, agronomy and IPM necessary for maximum gain from adoption of the newvarieties.

§  Lack of access to output markets.

§  Unavailability of credit for farmers topurchase inputs.

§  Lack of extension services to strengthenfarmer advice service.

§  Dissemination of information regardingimproved varieties.

§  Realistic prices for kabuli chickpea andlarge seeded green lentil.

§  Policy failures to promote food legumesas part of the cereal-based production system, for sustainability.


Thefollowing are recommendations for addressing the above challenges:

§  Establish effectiveresearch–extension–farmer and market linkages.

§  Large-scale out-scaling of improvedvarieties by making the seed available through informal and formal seedproductions.

§  Providing advice to farmers to make themaware of improved varieties.

§  Media campaigns to promote human andsoil health benefits of legumes in the system.

§  Adoption of the full package, includingvarieties, agronomy and IPM.

§  Create local / regional markets for newcrop varieties that will encourage farmers to produce more pulses.

§  Food science and technology should beembraced to train women to prepare diverse and nutritious dishes with foodlegumes.

§  Rigorous studies to verify acceptabilityof the new incomes varieties and potential impact of adoption in terms ofhigher productivity and the role of food legumes as a critical part of thecereal-based systems, identify constraints to adoption and to identify optionsfor overcoming these constraints.


In thisresearch the following lessons were learned about the best ways to gettechnologies or innovations used by the largest number of people:

§  Involving stakeholders and policy makersin the technology scaling up/out process.

§  Progressive farmers and NGOs involvementin seed production.

§  Technologies should increase farmers’income.

§  Farmer research groups and farmers’unions can play vital roles in technology transfer.

§  Policy support to encourage productionof food legumes.

§  Farmers become contractual seed growersto federal and regional seed enterprises and unions that are involved in seedtrade.

This can be carried out simultaneously during thedissemination stage.

Gender considerations

Thetechnologies are gender neutral. All men and women headed households havebenefited from the technologies in Ethiopia. Some of the widely grown lentilvarieties, like Alemaya, are rich in micro-nutrients (iron and zinc) and hencechildren and nursing mothers can benefit from the technologies.

Contact details

Name and contact of the organisation:

InternationalCentre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA),

P. O.Box 5466, Aleppo, Syria,

Email:m.vanginkel@cgiar. org;

Tel:+963 21 221 3433;

Fax:+963 21 221 3490


Name and contact of presenter:

GeletuBejiga, ICARDA,

AddisAbaba, Ethiopia;

Email: g.bejiga@cgiar.org;

Tel:+25111 646 3215


Name and contact of key scientist:

Md.Imtiaz ICARDA,

P. O.Box 5466, Aleppo, Syria;

Email: m.imtiaz@cgiar.org;

Tel:+963 21 221 3433;

Fax:+963 21 221 3490


Name and contact of key partner:

DrAsnake Fikre,

P. O.Box 32,

DebreZeit, Ethiopia  

Additional information

Thetechnologies (varieties and associated management practices) can befast-tracked in the highlands of East African countries where cool-season foodlegumes are traditionally grown using a mother-baby trail. Also the Kabulichickpeas can be tested in non-traditional areas since these have good levelsof resistance to ascochyta blight. Also regional harmonisation of varietytesting and registration can be a great asset to move seeds if some of thegenotypes have wide adaptations.

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