Returns to Research and Diffusion Investments on Wilt Resistance in Pigeonpea uri icon


  • Fusarium wilt caused by Fusarium udum Butler is one of the most widespread and destructivediseases of pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) in Asia and Africa. An internationalsurvey of pigeonpea diseases in Asia, Africa, and the Americas (Kannaiyan et al.1981), initiated in 1975, showed that the disease occurred in almost all pigeonpea-growingareas on these continents. Subsequent monitoring surveys in 11 major pigeonpeaproducingstates in India reported high wilt incidence in three states - Maharashtra(23%), Bihar (18%), and Uttar Pradesh (15%) (Kannaiyan et al. 1984). Surveys in Africafound that wilt was the only major pigeonpea disease in Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya.Other studies suggested that wilt caused yield reductions of up to 50% (Ryan 1981).Wilt-related production losses in 1977/78 were estimated to be 97 000 t (worth US$ 36.4million) in India and 14 000 t (worth US$ 5.2 million) in Kenya, Malawi, and Tanzania.Largely on the basis of these survey results, ICRISAT set a high priority for fusarium wiltresearch in pigeonpea. The research program aimed primarily at identifying resistantlines, conducting multilocational screening for resistance, and developing resistantcultivars. A combination of genetic resistance and cultural practices (crop rotation andmixed- or intercropping) was expected to offer farmers a cost-effective method of controllingthe disease

publication date

  • 1996