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Zimbabwean Organic Farmer to lead efforts to promote pulses in Africa

Elizabeth Mpofu (left flanked by her husband) receives official nomination certificate from FAO Subregional Coordinator for southern Africa, David Phiri. Photo © FAO/ Believe Nyakudjara

05 August 2016, Harare - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has nominated Elizabeth Mpofu from Zimbabwe as the International Year of Pulses (IYP) Special Ambassador for the region of Africa.

Mpofu, while accepting the nomination in Harare on 4 August, said the campaign to have pulses contribute towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to hunger should involve women at all levels. “Women are farmers, mothers, and caregivers who understand the nutritional needs of the family, and indeed of the soil on which the food grows,” she said.

Speaking on the e occasion of the official nomination ceremony on behalf of the FAO Director-General, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa, David Phiri, said Sustainable Development Goal 2 had established food and nutrition security as a key international development objective. As such, IYP successfully linked the contribution of pulses to the critical targets under SDG 2, particularly those related to food access, malnutrition, smallholder incomes and sustainable and resilient agriculture.

“Pulses are important food crops and offer significant nutritional health advantages due to their high protein and essential amino acid content as well as being a source of complex carbohydrates and several vitamins and minerals,” Phiri added.

Representing the Government of Zimbabwe, Ringson Chitsiko, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, said IYP represents a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the potential of pulses in the agriculture development sector and “provide an additional impulse to increase their production at the global level.”

Mrs. Mpofu is an Agro-Ecological farmer based in Masvingo Province. She has dedicated her work tirelessly for the betterment of smallholder farmers and the rights of women.

She has held various leadership positions since the 1990s. Currently, she is a member of the International Coordination Committee (ICC) and the General Coordinator of La Via Campesina, an international peasants’ movement with a membership over 200 million farmers from about 164 local and national organizations in 73 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Mpofu is one of the six Special Ambassadors nominated to highlight public awareness and promote the objectives of IYP.  The Special Ambassadors will support FAO, Governments  and other partners in raising awareness of the contribution of pulses to food security, and their positive impact to climate change, human health, and soil biology. The special ambassadors will also increase opportunity for dialogue, participation, and access to information on pulses. Additionally, the Special Ambassadors will motivate relevant stakeholders to take advantage of IYP to encourage connections throughout the food chain.

To heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses, the 68th UN General Assembly declared 2016, the International Year of Pulses (IYP). United Nations (FAO) was nominated to facilitate the implementation of the Year in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders. The IYP theme “Nutritional seeds for a sustainable future,” underlines the role that pulses play in meeting the Zero Hunger Challenge.

More Information

  1. Photos - Nomination Ceremony
  2. Publication: The IYP Action Plan
  3. Website: International Year of Pulses.
  4. Link to the information material

Contacts

Edward Ogolla | FAO Southern Africa Communications | Edward.Ogolla@fao.org

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