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5th Meeting of Pakistan’s Mungbean Learning Alliance

The alliance continues to facilitate uptake of the latest technology among farmers and stakeholders

Mungbean alliance members gathered for their 5th exchange of knowledge, skills, and lessons learned.

The Beans with Benefits (BwB) project in Pakistan convened the 5th Mungbean Learning Alliance meeting at the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) in December 2017. Researchers, agricultural extensionists, partners, academics, processors, and farmers attended. Sher Nabi Khan, Project Site Coordinator, welcomed the participants, noting that the alliance continues to facilitate uptake of the latest technology among farmers and stakeholders.

Dr. Shafiq Zahid, Acting Director, Crop Sciences Institute, NARC, said alliance participants are contributing to greater mungbean productivity. Germplasm received and developed under the domain of the BwB project should be shared with partners, he said, indicating that such cooperative work has helped Pakistan to become self-sufficient in mungbean.

Dr. Shahid Riaz Malik, PL (Pulses), CSI, NARC, explained that promising genotypes were selected in Bhakkar farmers’ fields. Seven crosses were harvested successfully in spring and 14 in kharif season, and the F1 and F2 generations were advanced. Two baby trials were conducted in Pothwar region and trials for economic analysis were conducted at Bhakkar and Chakwal. Two field days were also conducted. Dr. Ghulam Abbas, Principal Scientist, NIAB, told about selecting promising lines in mother and baby trials at NIAB, Faisalabad, and in farmer’s fields in Haroonabad. Seed multiplication and characterization work was done on 62 lines received from WorldVeg.

Mr. Abu-Bakr Dar (Research Fellow, University of Agriculture Faisalabad [UAF]) presented his work about microbial inoculation for sustainable mungbean production. He collected rhizosphere soil and nodules samples from 4 different locations and produced 25 isolates each for PGPR and rhizobium species. UAF conducted field trials at 3 locations to confirm their results. Trials in 10 farmers’ fields found that average yield was 16% higher when seed was inoculated.

Mrs. Saima Zahid, SO, SSRI, NARC presented her work on gender impact of mechanization of mungbean production and adoption of improved mungbean varieties in Pakistan. In 2016-17, ‘NM11’ and ‘AZRI 06’ were the most popular mungbean varieties grown.

A farmer from Thal region pointed out a new and serious problem of Chibber (Cucumis melo var. Agrestis), an emerging weed in mungbean. The fruit it bears discolors the mungbean grains during mechanical harvesting. Chibber was not controlled by recommended pre-and post-emergence herbicide and desiccant application at maturity. It germinates after the first irrigation, and the low-growing vine wraps around mungbean plants, bearing the fruit under the canopy where spray cannot reach.

Farmer Mr. Mazhar Husain from Chakwal shared his experience of planting mungbean on his farm. His first objective was to increase organic matter of his soil. He harvested 1 ton/ha and after that planted a successful wheat crop. However, prices were low for mungbean, and he had 4 tons left unsold. Through the alliance he met a trader who helped him sell all his mungbean at a reasonable price. Mr. Iftikhar Abid from Gujar Khan said he used to grow traditional crops on his farm but on the advice of Dr. Shahid Riaz is now producing healthy crops of mungbean and mashbean. He also pointed out the marketing problem for mungbean.

Suggestions and recommendations

Alliance members agreed that:

  • inoculation studies should continue;
  • the government should fix PKR 4000 per 40 kg as a support price for mungbean;
  • research work should commence for the control of Chibber (Cucumis melo var. Agrestis), which is becoming a new problem for some mung bean producing areas; and
  • the learning alliance should continue even after the project ends.

Story and photos: Sher Nabi Khan

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