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Increasing productivity and profitability of pulse production in cereal based cropping systems in Pakistan

This project aims to enhance the production and profitability of pulses in cropping systems in Pakistan and reverse the decline in legume production.
Demand for pulses in Pakistan has increased over the last 20 years, while production has decreased. Legumes, especially chickpea and lentils, fetch high prices, but have been pushed out to the most marginal lands. Labour shortages constrain weeding and harvesting of these species. The Pakistani government has identified re-introducing legumes in cropping systems as a priority for agriculture development; this would have nutritional, economic and environmental benefits.
The project will establish research trials in 90 selected farms in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. It will try improved varieties, disease and weed management, crop nutrition, Rhizobium inoculation and mechanised planting and harvesting. The project will work with local service providers (for planting and harvesting services), local machinery suppliers (to evaluate planters and harvesters), and local seed producers. On-farm trials will engage farmers from the start of the project. The project will focus on servicing smallholders, who often struggle to participate in on-farm research trials.
The project will assess biotic stresses, availability of improved varieties, seasonal labour requirements, and how women process and add value to pulses. The findings of sister project ADP-2016-045 'Economic analysis of policies affecting pulses in Pakistan' will guide the research strategy so that appropriate innovations can be proposed, designed and implemented.
The project will communicate its results to 9,000 farmers initially through farmer field schools (on the land of the selected research farmers), the extension services, NGOs and private sector agents. Adopting the proposed and validated innovations would make producing pulses more profitable and create incentives for farmers to increase pulses in their cropping system.