Lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) is a cool season food legume crop. Since 1947, total annual area under lentil has increased gradually until the decade of 1970-80, and then started declining continuously. However, total annual production of this legume remained almost, constant which is attributed to the release of its new improved varieties and adoption of better production technology. As 1/3 of the total area of the country constitutes cold and dry uplands, there is a big scope of extending lentil cultivation in Balochistan. Until 1996, no improved variety was available in the province and the only option for lentil growers in Balochistan was to plant a local landrace with a very low yield potential. After several years of hard work, a high yielding, cold and drought tolerant variety, ShirAZ-96, was developed by PARC’s Arid Zone Research Centre (AZRC), Quetta.
Technology Development, Demonstration and Recommendation
ShirAZ-96 has been derived through selection from the ICARDA line ILL 5865 which came out from a cross between ILL 470 (Syrian origin) and ILL 1334 (Iranian origin). Its preliminary evaluation and multi-locational testing were performed at the AZRC research station and at farmers’ fields and qualitative traits were evaluated at the AZRC labs. The variety was approved by the Balochistan Seed Council in December 1996 and registered with the Department of Seed Certification and Registration, Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock in March 1997.
This lentil variety is highly tolerant to cold (-18° C) and drought as it produces seed even at <100 mm rainfall. It has 3 times higher seed size, produces 14% more biomass and 33% more seeds than local lentil. It is resistant to Fusarium and tolerant to Ascochyta blight. ShirAZ-96 is a unique variety that can be cultivated in highly cold and dry regions of the country, which cover more than 25% of total area of Pakistan.
Asghar Ali, J. D. H. Keatingei, B. R. Khan and S. Ahmad. (1991). Germplasm evaluation of dual-season lentil (Lens culinaris) lines for the arid highlands of West Asia. Journal of Agricultural Science, (England) 117: 347-353.
Asghar Ali, J. D. H. Keatinge, S. Ahmed and B. R. Khan. (1999). Shiraz-96, first improved lentil variety for the arid highlands of Balochistan, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 2: 1540-1542.