"Chickpea Revolution" Response

Aishwarya Nukala’s article, “Chickpea Revolution” for Scientific American magazine introduces readers to the chickpea plant and how it is becoming beneficial to developing country’s desire to increase their agricultural practices and boost their economy.
This article focuses on the chickpea, a highly nutritional crop in high demand in famine-stricken regions and developing countries such as Ethiopia, which is also Africa’s largest producer of chickpeas. Such regions also rely on the chickpea as a means of supporting their agricultural yields and boosting their economy. Although the crop is relatively sustainable to grow, researchers have been looking towards developing a more efficient chickpea seed for years. In 2006, scientists at the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) identified favorable traits among over 20,000 variations in the chickpea’s genetic code, which allowed them to breed seeds that would mature faster and resist drought and disease. Following this discovery, in 2011 the U.S. Agency for International Development called for an expansion of Ethiopia’s economy by increasing its crop yields of chickpeas in hopes of bringing more stability to all of eastern Africa. In the same year, Pepsi Co., which co-owns the hummus empire Sabra, partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Nations’ World Food Program to expand Ethiopian farmers’ access to more productive seeds as well as more sustainable agricultural practices.
Nukala supports the creation of these improved seeds with the simple fact that between March 2010 and March 2012, Ethiopia’s chickpea harvest has increased by 15%. This increase in production allows farmers to not only sell the crop to local markets, but to expand their sales globally to export markets, in turn aiding the growing global demand for chickpeas to be used in hummus and supporting the Ethiopian economy.
This article was written for and published in Scientific...