India is the largest producer and consumer of pulses. Dried edible seed of a cultivated legume is known as pulse. Legume derived from Latin “legere” means “to gather”. It constitutes 10–12% of Indian diet. WHO recommends 80 g/day/person, whereas ICMR recorded 47 g but actual is 30–35 g. Pulses are used as fodder, food crops, green manure, cover crop and catch crop. N fixation by legumes improves soil fertility.
The protein content ranges from 17–25% (Soybean = 40–43%). It provides thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B and ascorbic acid. Early maturity, relative thermo and photo insensitivity and better canopy structure (non-spreading) makes the pulses to include them in multiple cropping.
Area and distribution:
India accounts 33% area under pulses and 22% production of world. It is mostly grown as rainfed and only 8% of pulse area is irrigated in India. Pulses are cultivated in an area of 22.47 m.ha with 13.38 m.t production (2004–05). The pulse yield potential in India is 2500–3500 kg/ha but the productivity is 550–625 kg/ha as against 1600 kg in USA, 1400 kg in China and world average is 900 kg/ha. Causes for low production of pulses
(a) Ecological factors:
Pulses are grown mostly under rain fed conditions and only 8% of the area is irrigated and it depends on residual soil moisture. Pulses are sensitive to excess soil moisture, salinity, alkalinity and acidity.
(b) Lack of agronomic management:
It is grown with poor management and lack of HYV (HI-0.1–0.2 and but, for wheat, it is 0.5). Improper sowing time, inadequate seed rate and defective method of sowing are few examples.
(c) Basic research factors:
Break through in production is possible if HYV/hybrid is developed with synchronous flowering, multiple resistance to pests and diseases and response to inputs.
(d) Socio-economic constraints:
It is grown by resource poor farmers often as catch crop or mixed crop or in rotation with commercial or high yielding cereal crop. Unassured market is a reason for low production.
(e) Constraints in post harvest technology
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