AVRDC Pakistan and the Pulses Program of the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) hosted a Field Day on 23 September 2014 at Kamalpur, Attock district, Punjab to promote mungbean as a catch crop in the wheat-fallow-wheat cropping system prevalent in the district. The 200 farmers that attended the event discovered there is great potential to produce mungbean under rain-fed conditions on about 20,000 hectares in the district.

Farmers and scientists evaluate a mungbean crop during the Field Day.

Farmers and scientists evaluate a mungbean crop during the Field Day. Mungbean is attracting the interest of farmers, who can plant the short-duration legume in-between their wheat crops, enriching the soil, their diets, and their incomes.

To promote rapid adoption of the crop, the farmers were introduced to improved mungbean production practices. They compared improved varieties growing in demonstration plots; saw examples of best integrated pest management practices; and got a look at the latest advances in production and postharvest technology. Market linkages for sale of their output were discussed to reassure farmers there would be buyers for their crop.

After examining mungbean in the field and learning about the crop’s ability to fix nitrogen in the soil and improve soil structure, most participants were convinced mungbean should have a place in their crop rotations. Farmers received brochures about mungbean production, and many showed a keen interest in adopting mungbean as catch crop in the coming season.

Muhammad Azeem Khan, Director General, NARC, graciously acknowledged the effort of AVRDC in organizing the event. He emphasized the need for further collaborative work to assist the rural community, and declared Kamalpur as an official demonstration site. Mazhar Hussain, AVRDC Socioeconomist, conducted a key informant survey to determine farmers’ awareness of improved mungbean practices.