The protein molecule is the basic building block of every living entity. Its deficiency leads to restricted growth and development of the individuals. Globally, such malnutrition is on rise due to various reasons such as rapid population growth, stagnation of productivity, and ever-rising costs. Millions of people, especially in the developing and under-developed countries, suffer from protein malnutrition and the only possible solution is to encourage farmers to grow the high-protein food legume crops in their fields for domestic consumption. This, however, could be possible if farmers are provided with new cultivars with high yield, and resistance to major insects, diseases, and key abiotic stresses.
The major food legumes crops are chickpea, cowpea, common bean, groundnut, lentil, pigeonpea, and soybean. Predominantly, the legume crops are grown under subsistence level and, therefore, in comparison to cereals and horticultural crops their productivity is low and highly variable. The crop breeders around the globe are engaged in breeding suitable cultivars for the harsh and changing environments but success has been limited and not up to needs.
With the recent development of new technologies in plant sciences, efforts are being made to help the under-privileged farmers through breeding new cultivars which will produce more protein per unit of land area. In this book, the contributors analyze the constraints, review new technologies, and propose a future course of crop breeding programs in seven cold and warm season legume crops.