Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu


Opening Remarks by

Dr QU Dongyu, Director-General

12 February 2021

As prepared



Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives,

Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I am pleased to join you in celebrating World Pulses Day 2021. 

2. Our celebration coincides with the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Ox -, which makes the day even more special.


3. FAO is leading global efforts to transform our agri-food systems making them more inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

4. Achieving this requires a shift towards better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life – the four betters.

5. Looking at pulses through the lens of the four betters shows us their incredible potential and value.

6. Better Production: Pulses require less water than comparable products, and can be planted on small plots of land.

7. Better Nutrition: Pulses are an affordable source of safe and nutritious food, high in protein, fibre, vitamins and they contain substantial amounts of micronutrients. They are of particular importance for people who rely on plant products to fulfil their protein requirements.

8. Better Environment: They are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen, release high-quality organic matter in the soil and facilitate soil nutrients' circulation and water retention. Less fertilizers, a smaller water footprint and reduced use of energy, means lower greenhouse gas emissions.

9. Better Life: Pulses have a higher cost-benefit ratio than other staples. This helps diversifying and improving the income of rural people; often women and youth. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

10. In our common efforts to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, we cannot ignore the grave matter of food loss and waste.

11. Each year, one-third of the food produced globally for human consumption is either lost or wasted. 

12. This is an ethical issue, which in Pope Francis’ words, is “like stealing from the world's poor”.

13. Pulses have a long shelf life. Shifting consumption patterns to more pulses could therefore contribute to reducing food waste.

14. This characteristic has proved particularly useful during the current pandemic, where people without access to fresh food have still been able to consume pulses.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

15. World Pulses Day is a valuable opportunity to pay tribute to this diverse and versatile commodity.

16. We extend our gratitude to the Government and people of Burkina Faso for the leadership role played in the designation of World Pulses Day and for the continued support of this important celebration.

17. FAO is committed to assisting its Members in increasing both, production and consumption of pulses. 

18. We support enhancing their production by integrating them into staple cereals production.

19. We will use our networks and platforms to promote the consumption of pulses dishes with local flavours from all around the world.

20. Because consumption is the true engine of transformation!

21. And we need to learn from successful examples, such as those you will hear about today.

22. From India, the world’s largest producer and consumer of pulses, with 25 percent of the world production.

23. From China, as the world’s fourth largest producer of pulses, accounting for 17 percent of the global trade in Asian pulses.

24. From France being the largest producer of pulses in the European Union.

25. We value the excellent cooperation with the Global Pulse Confederation.

26. Let us work with all stakeholders, to galvanize efforts for sound policies, research, innovation, education and awareness-raising activities.

27. I wish you a very productive World Pulses Day!