Robynne Anderson's Emerging Thoughts on Ag

Could 2016 be the International Year of Pulses?

The International Pulse Trade Federation, CICILS, has declared it is “delighted” to see the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) vote in favour of a proposal to declare 2016 the International Year of Pulses.

Prior to the vote on Saturday 22 June, CICILS executives were in Rome urging FAO diplomats not to miss the opportunity to raise awareness of how pulses contribute to food security, nutrition and healthy soils.

Also on hand to support the cause was the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN), an informal coalition of trade associations that gives a voice to the private sector in Rome.

Saturday’s vote by FAO members represents the next stage in the Pulse Year bid. The proposal for an International Year of Pulses will now be submitted to the UN General Assembly in New York and we are counting on the world leaders to back the idea. Originally proposed by the Turkish and Pakistani governments, the idea of an International Year of Pulses has quickly gained traction among governments worldwide.

Not least those of India and West Africa, where agricultural livelihoods benefit hugely from the production of pulses.

Developing countries contribute 70% of pulse production globally but are in need of improved research and planting techniques in order to improve productivity. An International Year would facilitate knowledge of how to use pulses to their true advantage.

As the UN looks to implementing a more environmentally sustainable future, an International Year would provide an opportunity to promote the direct positive impacts pulses have on soil quality, as well as reducing reliance on agricultural inputs and water use.