The International Year of Pulses, which was celebrated in 2016, has helped raise awareness globally of the benefits of eating and growing pulses, with calls to now build upon the strong momentum
At the closing ceremony of the International Year of Pulses (IYP) hosted by Burkina Faso with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the organisation said that the year helped raise awareness globally of the many benefits of pulses, and boosted knowledge sharing and partnerships, but gains must be further strengthened to achieve the international community’s sustainable development goals.
“It is essential to maintain the momentum,” said FAO’s deputy director-general Maria-Helena Semedo at the ceremony. “Training programmes on the value of pulses should be supported, particularly for schoolchildren, farmers and extension workers. Policies and programmes should focus more on pulse producers, particularly small-holder farmers and young people,” she said.
Burkina Faso’s president, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, said, “To better cope with the triple problem of soil fertility management, reducing the adverse effects of climate change and the issue of food security, producing and consuming pulses is a great opportunity, especially for the most vulnerable people.”
Since the launch of the initiative, connections have been fostered among key actors from farmers’ organizations to the private sector to facilitate information exchange and policy dialogue on the production, trade and consumption of pulses.
Leaders in policy and research have tackled the top pulse issues at several international forums, and national committees have been established. A technical pulses database was created, a cookbook featuring recipes from international chefs was published, and the official multilingual website, with over half a million visits, promoted a rich array of information on pulses.
In Burkina Faso, where pulses are generally grown by rural women, production is also on the rise. The government estimates that 700,000 tonnes of cowpea and 56,000 tonnes of bambara (or voandzou) beans will be produced this year – around 20 per cent more than last year.
Though the Year has now officially closed, there has been a sound call to keep the momentum alive and continue activities beyond 2016.