International Year of Pulses 2016: National, Regional and International Activities Gather Momentum

YPThe UN General Assembly (UNGA) designated 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP 2016), with the aim of enhancing public awareness of the nutritional and food security benefits of pulses and their contribution to sustainable food production and the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers. Officially launched on 10 November 2015, and coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the year-long celebrations will include 10 ‘Signature Events’ around the world, the launch of a global pulses database, and commemoration of World Soil Day 2016 on the theme ‘Soils and pulses: symbiosis for life.’

IYP 2016 Recent Events:

  • 24 February 2016 – the International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), part of the CGIAR Consortium, launched its Global Pulses Research Platform in partnership with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Government of India. The objective of the platform is to promote and expand the cropping of lentils in rice fallows to intensifying crop production while enabling sustainable cropping systems. Approximately 11.7 million hectares were left fallow for period of time in 2015, constituting over a fourth of India’s total rice area, and researchers estimate that at least three million hectares of this total area can be converted to pulse production.
  • 28 February to 4 March 2016 – The Joint World Cowpea and Pan-African Grain Legume Research Conference in Livingstone, Zambia, addressed the theme ‘Sustainable Grain Legume Systempoulses for Food, Income, and Nutritional Security in a Rapidly Changing Climate.’ The objective of the meeting, which was to address the low priority for pulses in agricultural research and development, and to harness the potential of grain legumes in achieving several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that address hunger, health, sustainable production and consumption, climate and land.

IYP 2016 Events to Come:

  • 5-8 April 2016 – The IYP 2016 regional event for Central America in San José, Costa Rica
  • 17-20 February 2016 – The Pulses Conclave in Jaipur, India
  • 31 May to 1 June 2016 – The INRA Meeting on Grain Legumes in Dijon, France
  • 18-20 April 2016 – The International Conference on Pulses in Dryland Areas in Marrakesh, Morocco
  • 19-22 May 2016 – The World Pulses Convention in Izmir, Turkey
  • 12-14 September 2016 – The Australian Pulse Conference in Tamworth, Australia
  • 12-14 October 2016 – The 2nd conference of the International Legumes Society in Troia, Portugal
  • 19 November 2016 – ‘Little Beans, Big Opportunities: Realizing the Potential of Pulses to Meet Today’s Global Health Challenges’ taking place in New York, US

Other IYP 2016 activities include: a year-long UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Club Serres campaign, also marking UNESCO’s 70th anniversary, where students and teachers are invited to implement educational activities dedicated to IYP 2016, and a Global Soil Partnership (GSP) event exploring the contribution of soils and pulses to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. National-level activities include a “first-of-its-kind travelling exhibition” organized by the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum and Pulse Canada to raise awareness about pulses; and diverse food festivals and pulse product launches in Australia.

The IYP 2016 website contains diverse awareness raising materials including pulse-based recipes, promotional leaflets and posters, infographics and social media resources, and a blog highlighting the latest initiatives in pulses research and development, as well as consumer information from around the world. FAO has also produced a short video outlining unique opportunities for pulses to contribute to the future of food security.

Originally Published: | 4 March 2016