United Nations Proclaims 2016 the “International Year of Pulses”

January 6, 2014

Beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas, also known as pulse crops, are getting international acclaim! The United Nations General Assembly voted recently to declare 2016 as the “International Year of Pulses.”

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the bean and pea and lentil industries,” said the executive director of the United States Dry Bean Council. “For many years, pulse crops have nourished the world. An UN-dedicated year will raise more awareness of delicious, nutritious, versatile beans, peas and lentils.” The United States is one of the world’s leading producers and exporter of pulses.

Beyond traditional markets, pulses have steadily increased in popularity as people around the world recognize their appeal as nutritious, versatile foods that can play an essential part in healthy diets.

The idea of a year dedicated to recognizing the role of pulse crops in sustainable agriculture and healthy diets was conceived by Hakan Bahceci, president of CICILS, the International Pulse Trade and Industries Confederation. The idea was supported by many pulse-growing countries, and the UN General Assembly made the declaration last week.

“This is the greatest opportunity in a century to give pulses the attention they deserve. Pulses can help to increase food security for those with shortages and to tackle the increase of diseases linked to lifestyles such as obesity and diabetes. Plus, they improve cropping systems and are good for farmers,” says Bahceci. “The International Year of Pulses will give pulses additional research attention and nutritional programming, which will lead to dietary uptake. Increased pulse consumption will grow both healthy people and a healthy planet. We deeply appreciate the United Nation’s dedication to the task.”

CICILS has set aside $1.1 million to fund activities related to the Year. A series of national committees are being established around the world by CICILS members to work with their governments, farmers, NGOs, retailers, food manufacturers, health & science organizations and UN bodies to make the year a success globally and in each country.

“The recognition of the International Year of Pulses brings opportunities to help consumers appreciate how pulse consumption can help lower disease risk,” continued USDBC’s director, “But, it is also an excellent time to discover new uses for bean and pea ingredients and how pulses influence world cuisine.”

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