PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (Nifa), Peshawar, has achieved initial success in breeding high-yielding black-seeded mung beans (genotypes) for Kurram tribal district and adjoining areas.

An official statement issued here on Thursday said the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) had jointly financed the project.

According to it, globally, black-seeded mung bean was cultivated only in Kurram and adjoining areas of Afghanistan.

The local black-seeded mung bean landrace being cultivated in Kurram since unknown dates has low-yield potential with high susceptibility to diseases due to the poor genetic background.

It said the local growers were in dire need of high-yielding and disease-resistant black-seeded mung bean varieties with adaptability to the local growing conditions.

“In order to fulfil demands of growers in the area, pulse scientists of Nifa initiated basic research few years ago and hybridised a local black-seeded mung bean landrace collected from Kurram and later named as Kurram black mung with another black mottled seeded mutant genotype developed at the Nuclear Institute for Agriculture Biology (NIAB), Faisalabad, and later named as NIFA black mung.”

According to the statement, through repeated cycles of selection of desired plant types in the following seasons, two high-yielding genotypes with shiny black seed coat colour and resistance diseases were developed.

“These genotypes were recommended under the names Nifa Spinghar-21 and Nifa Sikaram-21 by Technical Committee of the KP Seed Council in its meeting held on Dec 31 at ARI, Tarnab, Peshawar, for approval to the Provincial Seed Council. These will be the first ever approved commercial varieties of black-seeded mung beans in the world as no approved varieties of this type of mung bean exist globally.” The overall production and area under mung bean cultivation in KP could also be enhanced.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2021

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