Chickpea blight, caused by Ascochyta rabiei, has been a major disease constraining production in the country. The instability in chickpea production in Pakistan may primarily be attributed to this disease. This problem caused total crop failure in early 1980s. Pothowar area, that has been traditionally a chickpea growing area, has become a hot spot for this disease since 1911 when it was initially recorded in district Attock. Progressively, the area of chickpea in Pothowar reduced drastically. Realizing gravity of the problem, Pulses research scientists of NARC developed and released two blight resistant varieties of chickpea, i.e., DASHT and PARBAT.
Conventional breeding techniques were employed to develop the blight resistant varieties of chickpea. After extensive screening of local and exotic chickpea germplasm, three genotypes, i.e., ICC-7770, ICC-11514 and ILC-3279, were identified as blight tolerant. These genotypes were exploited to develop two hybrids (i.e., C44xICC-7770, ICC-11514xILC-3279). Crosses were made in Rabi season of 1983-84. The segregating populations were advanced to F6 level following negative selection after subjecting them to artificial disease condition. Single plants were selected from F6 in 1986-87. After evaluating, the rows for yield superior progenies were selected for each hybrid and were subjected to evaluation for yield and disease reaction in a series of trials. Having found them superior with respect to grain yield and blight resistant, the two candidate varieties were compared with other candidate lines and with the previously released varieties. The Punjab Seed Council approved them in 2003 for general cultivation in Pothowar area.
Salient features of Cvs. DASHT and PARBAT
- These varieties possess a good level of resistance against chickpea blight.
- Both the varieties have exhibited resistance against multiple isolates of blight pathogen.
- Both are tolerant to cold and resistant to iron chlorosis.
- Their seed quality is comparable with the primarily released varieties.
- Yield potential of both varieties is1500-2000 kg/ha on farmers’ fields.
- 1st October to 15 November is optimum sowing time for these varieties in Pothowar.
- 25-30 kg/acre seed rate is recommended for better harvest of these varieties.
- Seed treatment with 2 g Benlate/kg seed is recommended for eradication of primary inoculum on seed.
Maher, A. B., M. Arshad, S. Ali, S. M. Iqbal, S. Hussain and M. Bashir. (2002). PARBAT a new high yielding variety of Desi chickpea for Potowar region in Pakistan. JAPS. 1.2: 142-144.
Bakhsh, A., M. Arshad and S. M. Iqbal. (2005). Development of chickpea blight resistant variety (DASHT) using combination of bulk population and pedigree breeding method. Pakistan Journal of Botany 37:325-335.