96                      PNL          volume 19                  1987                                          Feachures
E. Girard and M. Lobo Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario
Centro de Investigacion La Selva
AA 100, Rionego, Antioquia, Colombia
A research project with peas is being carried out by the
Colombian Institute for Agricultural Research and Development
(ICA) at three of its 21 experimental stations. The project in-
volves several objectives:
1. Improvement of traditional varieties (with a wide adapta-
tion range) to achieve higher yield, better pod distribution, less
fol iage so the microclimate under the canopy will be less favora-
ble for fungal diseases, larger pods with more seeds/pod, dry
seeds of green color.
2. Precise identification of disease and insect problems in
the different production areas in order to search for field resis-
tance instead of vertical resistance.
3. Characterization and evaluation of germplasm from local
and international nurseries as sources of genes to improve local
varieties or to develop new varieties.
4. Use of mutants to reach the goals proposed by the Project.
5. Studies with Rhizobia (Colombian collection).
Research is already underway on the first item and work on
the third and fourth objectives was started in 1986. Disease and
insect identification has been done in some areas but must be ex-
tended to others to get a more complete picture. The main disease
problems are Ascochyta blight, Fusarium root rot, Colletotrichum
blight, and a supposed viral problem. Known insect pests are stem
borers and root miners. Rhizobial studies will be initiated in
The entire project has been planned for a ten-year period and
will be expanded as new problems arise and as the results suggest.
Also included is a series of agronomical studies involving ferti-
lization, plant densities, growth pattern, multi-cropping possibi-
lities, and quality factors.
The area in Colombia in which peas are grown encompasses
about 50,000 hectares along the highlands in the Andes. The crop
is grown by small farmers, a high percentage being a part of
multi< ropping systems (growing peas with corn, fababeans, and po-
tatoes). Production is insufficient to meet the demand, so Colom-
bia imports from 10,000 to 25,000 tons per year depending on the
economy of
the country at the time. But peas could be grown from
1,800 to 2,500 meters above sea level and the available land
suitable tor agricultural use within these limits is well over
5,000,000 hectares.