Improving pulse production in Pakistan

Demand for pulses in Pakistan outpaces supply due to declining production over the last 20 years. Despite relatively high prices, legumes, especially chickpea and lentils, have been progressively pushed out to the most marginal lands.

The challenge

Pakistan is importing pulses to meet the growing demand.  Constraints to domestic production include the lack of access to high yielding, disease-resistant varieties; poor agronomic practices, limited options for disease and post-harvest management; and labour shortages.

This reliance on imports means the country is missing out on the economic and environmental benefits that legumes bring to farming systems such as crop diversification, soil health, control of diseases and reduction of systemic risks.

Project name:
Increasing productivity and profitability of pulse production in cereal based cropping systems in Pakistan (2016 -2023)

Funding Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR) $2.3M

Our response

The project’s aim is to enhance the production and profitability of legumes in the existing cropping systems in Pakistan so that the decline in legume production can be reversed.

Research has sought to

  • identify agronomic factors limiting the productivity and profitability of lentils, chickpeas and groundnut, and evaluate possible solutions, mostly through farmer led research and demonstrations of suitable innovations
  • increase opportunities for farmers to undertake post-harvest value addition to chickpea, lentil and groundnut crops
  • develop and evaluate, in partnership with farmers, site specific village-based seed production and dissemination systems to facilitate access to improved varieties
  • disseminate the learning and practices from the project activities to other farmers and private-sector participants, such as input suppliers and potential service providers.

Summary of outcomes to date

  • The reporting year brought a lot of new learnings by reflecting and getting the right directions.
  • Some trials were repeated consecutively for the second year. However, new trials at different project sites were also initiated.
  • A new approach addressed the bottlenecks encountered during value addition activities.
  • Engaging seed companies strengthened the sustainable pulses seed supply system.
  • Project learnings were disseminated by demonstrating interventions during expansion activities, farmer field days, showcasing, and capacity-building events.
  • Impact analysis encouraged the project team when they observed the improvement in learning of beneficiary farmers.

The goal

Expected outcomes

  • Increased lentil, chickpea and groundnut production and value addition in cereal cropping system, helping to sustainably meet increasing demand for high-quality legumes in Pakistan.
  • Less reliance on fertiliser to grow cereal crops due to improved nitrogen soil levels.
  • Credible evidence influencing policy change in favour of lentil, chickpea and groundnut production.
  • Increased crop productivity thanks to access to quality seed from better adapted varieties, helping to improve the ability of farmers to maintain and further improve their farming systems.
  • Increased income due to post-harvest value addition.

Our team

Principal scientist

portrait of Professor Chris Blanchard
Professor Chris Blanchard
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Our research team

Dr Ata Rehman

Key research publications

  • Rehman, A. (2022). Evaluation of different varieties of chickpea (cicer arietinum l.) Under agro-ecological conditions of naudero (district larkana). Pak-Euro Journal of Medical and Life Sciences, 4(4), 264-272. [4].

Our partners

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We are looking for researchers, students, funding and partners to help take our research to the next level.