Pigeonpea is one of the major legume crops grown in
eastern Africa but has been relatively neglected in terms of research and
development. The peas are a rich source of protein and the crop is
nitrogen-fixing and drought tolerant. It is an ideal crop for the semi-arid
areas of Africa and there is great potential for it to be more widely grown.
The large number of pests and diseases which attack pigeonpea in
Africa (and elsewhere) is perhaps the main constraint to increased
production. The most important pest worldwide is the pod borer,
Helicoverpa armigera, but the flowers and pods are attractive to a wide
range of insect pests. The most important disease in eastern Africa is
Fusarium wilt (Fusarium udum) and considerable effort has been
devoted by ICRISAT to developing wilt-resistant pigeonpeas, adapted
to cultivation in the region. This paper reviews the literature on pests and
diseases of pigeonpea with special reference to eastern Africa and
presents some new information on distribution and damage levels for the
key pests and diseases.