Agriculture

Promoting pulses can contribute to Sustainable Development Goals

One of the most extensively-used foods in the world, pulses are rich in fibre and are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Thursday 24 November 2016

Adequate promotion of the numerous benefits of pulses among consumers is needed to promote them in our food systems, Food and Agriculture Organization experts said at the global dialogue held in Rome recently.

2016 has been marked as the International Year of Pulses. One of the most extensively-used foods in the world, pulses are rich in fibre and are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium. Pulses are also high in protein content and cater to the dietary needs of vegetarian populations.

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Pulses are popular all over the world. Lentil dahls are a staple in South Asia while chickpeas have been found in Neolithic pottery excavated in Southeast Anatolia.

Experts feel that promoting pulses can help foster inclusive economic growth. Greater attention to pulses is already opening export opportunities for Ethiopia and Myanmar.

Promoting the production and consumption of pulses can also contribute to the key Sustainable Development Goals, especially those on nutrition, poverty, soil health and climate change.

In Malawi, many farmers have been encouraged to intercrop maize and grain legumes, leading to increased food security and income. In Zambia, local women farmers are now producing nearly half of the pulses found in school meals.

Many types of pulses are water efficient and suited for dry conditions. Growing pulses as a cover crop is a climate-smart technique that improves both farm productivity and resilience.

Around 62 million tonnes of pulses are grown each year. India is by far the largest producer, although also a net importer. The value of internationally-traded pulses is around US $ 7 billion with China, Brazil, Canada, Myanmar and Australia all contributing to it.

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