Even as India basks in the warmth of the green (rice) revolution and eyes with expectancy the white (milk) revolution, silently in the fields of the country another revolution is taking place, the pulse revolution.
This was revealed on Friday at the inaugural session of 24th annual group MULLaRP meet of All India Coordinated Research Project on MULLaRP ( mungbean, urdbean, lentil, lathyrus, rajma and peas) Rabi Crop,
held at the Assam Agricultural University here.
Addressing the meeting Assistant Director General, Plant Protection, Indian Council of Agricultural Research P K Chakrabarty said that there had been a quantum leap in production of pulses and the country was nearing self sufficiency.
The reasons for this he said was increase in production due to the government supplying was supplying good quality breeder seeds to the farmers and increase in area if cultivation of pulses including the use of rice fallow land, that is land left fallow after rice is harvested.
Chakrabarty said that self sufficiency would be achieved after if this growth was sustained and in order to do this improved varieties had to be researched and given to farmers and pests and disease kept under control.
He asked the 60 odd scientists gathered from across the country to formulate a package of practices for herbicides and pesticides otherwise without certification, the application of these would be illegal.
He stressed on biofortified pulses which would help to reduce malnutrition in children and lactating mothers.
In this regard Assam had produced a lentil fortified with iron and zinc and was looking to infuse foliate.
Sanjeev Gupta, project coordinator, MULLaRP from Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Kanpur said that pulses in the country had achieved highest production upto 25.23 million tonnes (MT) in 2017 which had stagnated at 14 MT continuously for two decades, this was short of about 3 to 4 MT required for the country to be self sufficient.
“While chickpea is a major pulse in the winter season, there is much scope for area expansion for lentil, field pea, lathyrus and rajma.
He said that the government of India had launched a programme Targetting Rice Fallow Areas (TRFA) in six states including Assam with an outlay of Rs 200 crore.
He said that about 3 to 3.5 million hectare could be brought under rice fallow cultivation whereas at present only about 1-1.5 hectare is under cultivation in the eastern states.
“Assam is deficit in pulses by 25 percent and all the Northeastern states by 60 per cent. So these areas need to be targeted for pulse production programmes, “he said.
As new pulse varieties are produced taking into consideration different farming zones, soil, climate and other factors, field pea variety TRCP9 had been released for Tripura which could cater to the needs of other North Eastern States. Assam has also developed two varieties of black gram Rupohi and Buroi.