FAO Regional Office for Africa

FAO encourages farmers to increase growing of pulses

2016, International Year of Pulses

A woman farmer, Molai IDP camp, showing cowpea pods, Maiduguri, Borno State, (Photo: ©FAO/Sonia Nguyen)

6 December, 2016, Nigeria - Encouraging smallholder farmers to grow pulses and teaching them how to conserve the nutritious seeds is the best approach to promoting pluses.

According to Elizabeth Mpofu, one of the six special ambassadors appointed by FAO to strengthen the campaign for this year’s International Year of Pulses (IYP), smallholderfarmers and family farmers should be encouraged to grow pulses to accelerate food production.

Pulses are annual leguminous crops yielding between one to twelve grains or seed of variable size, shape and colour within the pod used for both food and feed. The term pulses are limited to crops harvested for dried grains, thereby, excluding crops harvested mainly for extractions.

The 68th General Assembly of the United Nations declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was nominated to facilitate the implementation of the year in collaboration with various governments, non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders.

The International Year of Pulses is aimed at raising public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production towards food security and nutrition.

FAO believes that this year will create a unique opportunity to encourage connections throughout the food chain that will better utilize pulse based protein, further global production of pulses, better utilized crop rotations and address the changes in the trade of pulses.

Since the official launch of IYP at FAO Headquarters on November 10, 2015, the nutritious seeds have become very popular, indeed, the IYP is arousing a great deal of worldwide interest across a wide range of sectors from agriculture and trade to health and nutrition.

Professor Victor Chude, President of Soil Science Society of Nigeria, said the importance of pulses to include being packed with nutrients, high protein and fiber content, their nitrogen fixing property improves soil fertility.

“They have a broad genetic diversity from which climate resilient varieties can be selected. They are highly water efficient and their production has low greenhouse gas emission. They can be stored for months without losing their high nutritional value”, he explained.

In Nigeria, experts have called on Nigerian farmers to attach great importance to pulses because of their importance to human nutrition and the nation’s food security. Celebrations will include quiz completions for students at secondary levels, road walks, workshops and agricultural shows by producers and processors as well as press conferences.

The official closing ceremony of the IYP will be held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in January 2017, and will provide a unique opportunity to recap the global achievements of the year and turn the IYP legacy into tangible sets of activities.


A contribution by

Victor O. Chude
Professor of Soil Science
President, Soil Science Society of Nigeria,

IYP National Coordinator for Nigeria.
Head Agric. Productivity Enhancement
National Programme for Food Security, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.