Images of India : A 3,000-year-old Pea could ease India’s inflation…

Pulses

For six years biologists have been testing a new variety of pigeon pea, a 3,000-year-old indigenous crop used to make dal, a staple of the diet in India. By adding a gene to the seed’s DNA, boosts output by 30% and helps reduce dependence on imports. Widespread use of the revamped pigeon pea – known locally as tur dal – has the potential to boost yields and could help the country reach its longer term inflation target of 4%. Pulses are a key driver of Asia’s second-highest inflation rate. Prices of the beans, chickpeas and lentils as a group have risen between 20% and 40% each month for the past year. India’s yield for pulses is among the lowest in the world. Part of the reason is that production is mostly dependent on rains, as farmers keep irrigated land for higher paying crops like wheat and rice. Pests are also a major culprit: Losses for the pigeon pea can be anywhere from 30% depending on the year.