Global Pulse Industry Celebrates Launch of the UN International Year of Pulses 2016

November 10, 2015

Rome, November 10th 2015: Today, the United Nations (UN) is officially launching the International Year of Pulses 2016 (IYP) at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy. 

“Pulses have great potential to help eradicate hunger, plus tackle many chronic health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes,” said Huseyin Arslan, President of the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC). “We congratulate the UN on its focus on pulses and their importance to global food security and nutrition.” 

With over 800 million people globally suffering from acute or chronic undernourishment and a rising tide of health problems linked to poor diets, the International Year of Pulses 2016 aims to demonstrate the integral role these nutrient-dense foods have in global food security and nutrition. IYP will create a unique opportunity to encourage connections throughout the food chain that would better utilize plant-based proteins, further global production of pulses (especially for smallholders), promote crop rotations and address the challenges in the trade of pulses. 

“Pulses” are the edible dried seeds of legume crops that include dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas and lentils. This diverse group of staple foods has been cultivated by civilizations across the globe for over 10,000 years. They are high in protein, fibre, various vitamins and amino acids and are hearty crops. Pulses are part of the ‘food basket’ used by the World Food Programme in food assistance strategies. 

One of the reasons the 68th United Nations General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses is that pulses can help improve human health and well-being including diabetes prevention and control, reductions in heart disease and cholesterol, and anemia prevention. Pulses are also often used in weight management and weight-loss programs. 

“Pulses are a nutrient powerhouse for the developed and developing world. This is why we are grateful to the UN and the FAO for declaring 2016 as the International Year of the Pulses. We hope this year will help put pulses at the heart of the discussions around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals recently adopted by the UN in New York and put pulses at the centre of people’s diets”, said Hakan Bahceci, Chair of GPC’s IYP Committee, GPC representative to the UN International IYP Steering Committee and CEO of Hakan Foods. 

In addition to providing a nutrient dense, low cost and low fat source of protein and fibre, pulses are also good for the planet. They have a low carbon footprint and enrich the soil where they are grown by feeding soil microbes and improving soil health, and reduce the need for fertilisers. They are also a water efficient source of protein: pulses require just 1/10 to 1/2 of the water used by other sources of protein. Putting pulses into a crop rotation improves a farm’s environmental stewardship 

“Pulses also offer broader societal benefits. In developing markets, pulses are often grown by smallholders, in particular women. Pulses provide these farmers with an additional source of food and income. Boosting global pulse consumption would have the potential benefit of increasing incomes among these families,” said Pravin Dongre, GPC’s Executive Vice President and Chairman of the Indian Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA). 

Pulses could play a role in reducing global food system risks brought about by overreliance on a few staple crops such as wheat, maize, rice and create new investment opportunities. The Global Pulse Confederation calls for pulses to be prioritised in future agronomic research programs and placed at the heart of governments’ nutrition and food security strategies. To this end, GPC has partnered with over 20 organisations, including governments, research bodies, NGOs and academics to improve pulse research, production and consumption. 

For recipes, nutrition and health information please visit: www.pulses.org or follow #LovePulses on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.  For industry news on IYP go to www.iyp2016.org 

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