Pulses play an integral role in global food security, nutrition, human health and environmental sustainability. They 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.
During the launch ICARDA was represented by its Director General, Dr. Mahmoud Solh, who attended the ceremony held at the FAO headquarters in Rome with FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva.
In his speech, Dr Solh underlined the need for producing healthy food for a growing world population. “With climate change and depleting natural resources, we need to focus on those crops which constrain least our natural resources. Pulses are climate smart crops as they require not only less inputs but also contribute positively to soil health.” Dr Solh said during his speech. “Pulses fit in the prevailing cropping systems and they need to be mainstream in cereal based agricultural system where ground water is depleting fast and soil health becomes a serious issue.”
In the past, only 12 crops received the major attention of scientific interventions globally. The International Year of Pulses will provide scientists the opportunity to promote their findings on pulses.
The 2016 International Year of Pulses is a truly global event. ICARDA is working with partners including international governments, the UN and scientists to host over a hundred events around the globe in 2016. In particular, ICARDA is planning a conference on pulses to be held in Rabat, Morocco, 18-20 April 2016. The goal is to sensitize main actors in pulse research and industries about scientific findings on health, nutrition and environmental benefits of producing, processing and eating pulses.
With over 800 million people suffering globally from acute or chronic undernourishment, and the occurrence of diet-related diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular ailments increasing in countries around the world, IYP 2016 aims to demonstrate the integral role these nutrient-dense foods have in global food security and nutrition.
See Flickr album on smallholder pulses farmers from around the world.