2016 was named the International Year of Pulses
Sure, pulses aren’t exactly grains… but we love them anyway! And this year they’ve received some deserved attention: The year 2016 was proclaimed “The International Year of Pulses” (IYP) by the United Nations. In the words of the Global Pulse Confederation based in Dubai,
“An International Year designation provides anunprecedented opportunity to raise awareness and to celebrate the role of beans, chickpeas, lentils and other pulses in feeding the world. Even more importantly, it will be a galvanizing moment to draw together key actors to further the contributions pulses make to health, nutrition, and sustainability.”
Pulses, also known as grain legumes, are a group of 12 crops that includes dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils. They are high in protein, fibre, and various vitamins, provide amino acids, and are hearty crops. They are most popular in developing countries, but are increasingly becoming recognized as an excellent part of a healthy diet throughout the world.
Pulses have been an essential part of the human diet for centuries, and although they haven’t received enough recognition, they are part of the vital web of biodiversity. Sustainable production of pulses not only addresses the issue of food security, but also provides protection to the environment: intercropping increases biodiversity, they are highly water efficient, their nitrogen-fixing properties improve soil fertility, and they are a powerful and nutritious food source for both humans and animals as fodder (and gluten-free!).
Interested in finding out more? Visit the IYP’s website.