Breeding of chickpea

Project Details


Main research question/goal

Consumers and the food industry in Flanders are strongly interested in locally produced chickpea. First experiences with chickpea cropping in Flanders are positive, but currently available varieties are not sufficiently adapted to the growing conditions in Flanders. Therefore ILVO is investing in chickpea breeding. The goal of this breeding program is to generate novel chickpea varieties with mainly a stable and suffciiently high yield, improved disease reistance, and improved ripening of the crop in less dry conditions. 

Research approach

As chickpea is a self-pollinating crop, breeding is done through line selection. First, plants from promising varieties are manually crossed. Then, we select in the progeny for plants with desirable traits such as improved yield, disease resistance, tolerance to lodging, and improved ripening. Only the best plants are kept and selection is continued for multiple generations. Disease trials in growth chambers allow us to select for improved resistance to Ascochyta rabiei. After multiple generations of selection, one or more candidate varieties will materialize for commercialization. 


Research results are translated into the development of novel, improved chickpea cultivars that will benefit farming in Flanders. Novel varieties will stimulate local production of chickpea in Flanders - and by extension in NW Europe, which in its term will lead to increased crop diversification in the Flemish landscape and more local production of plant based proteins. 

Effective start/end date1/01/22 → …

Flemish Discipline list

  • Phytopathology
  • Plant genetics
  • Agricultural plant breeding and biotechnology