ESTABLISHING THE INTERNATIONAL MUNGBEAN IMPROVEMENT NETWORK
The International Mungbean Improvement Network will help unlock the potential of mungbean to improve system productivity and livelihoods
Mungbean (Vigna radiata, also called green gram) is an important food and cash crop in the rice based farming systems of South and Southeast Asia. Mungbean is grown on more than 6 million ha worldwide (about 8.5% of global pulse area). The cultivation of the crop extends across a wide range of latitudes (40◦ N or S) in regions where the average diurnal temperatures during the growing season are higher than about 20 ◦C. Concentrated mainly in South, East and Southeast Asia, annual production is around 3 million t of grain (5% of global pulse production).
Short crop duration, low input requirement and high global demand make mungbean an ideal rotation crop for smallholder farmers. It generates a triple benefit: additional income, additional nutrient-rich food, and increased soil fertility. Up to now, investment in mungbean variety improvement has been very low, leading to a narrow genetic base of the crop. Consequently current mungbean varieties lack key traits to cope with emerging pests, diseases and seasonal variability, which constrains production in South and Southeast Asian countries, as well as in Australia.
The International Mungbean Improvement Network and its outcomes will help to unlock the potential of mungbean to improve system productivity and livelihoods. The goal of the project is to build a successful network that will attract new members and investors in mungbean research and be sustainable beyond the timeframe of the project. The network will coordinate and perform research resulting in the development and release of new mungbean varieties that are widely adopted and raise the profitability of smallholder farms and the sustainability of local production systems.
- Establish and coordinate an International Mungbean Improvement Network: The network will strengthen local mungbean research, pre-breeding and variety development capacity to generate farmer-accepted improved varieties. The network will initially be coordinated by the mungbean breeding program of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) together with the World Vegetable Center. Once established, the network will be overseen by a Reference Group consisting of senior managers from mungbean research institutions in the target countries (Myanmar, India and Bangladesh). The network will initially bring together organisations responsible for mungbean research and crop improvement in the target countries. It is envisaged that the network will eventually expand to include other South and Southeast Asian countries and further regions. The network will plan and execute mungbean variety improvement and implement training activities for researchers and extension services. The network will ensure ownership of the research by national scientists and will mobilize synergies between the research institutions in the participating countries.
- Improve access to mungbean genetic diversity for researchers to source traits required for future elite varieties: The project will provide a genetically diverse mungbean mini-core collection to the project partners and coordinate multi-location evaluation of the collection to identify and characterise desired traits conferring biotic and abiotic stress resistance, agronomic adaptation and grain quality for discerning markets. It will generate mungbean introgression lines from crosses with related species to give breeders access to novel traits that are currently missing in the mungbean genepool.
- Develop improved mungbean germplasm and elite lines: The International Mungbean Improvement Network will coordinate and technically support improvement activities in the target countries. Mungbean lines combining key disease resistance traits with abiotic stress tolerance and desirable agronomic traits will be produced and submitted to farmers for participatory selection. Selected lines will be channelled into variety release pipelines by the project partners.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Bangladesh
Indian Institute of Pulses Research, India
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Australia
End date: 2019
ICRISAT Campus, Patancheru 502 324
Tel: + 91 40 3071 3756, Fax: + 91 40 3071 3074
Mung Central is the newsletter of the International Mungbean Improvement Network.