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Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition • Forum FSN

Re: Pulses are praised for their health, environmental and economic benefits. How can their full potential be tapped?

Corina Carranca
Corina CarrancaINIAVPortugal

Remark: At present, pulses belong to the Fabaceae Family, not Leguminosae.

Some countries produce large amounts of pulses, but these are not a part of their respective diets. How can the use of pulses be increased in communities where these crops do not play an important role in the local cuisine/traditional meals?

By demonstration. The Portuguese cuisine is based on the Mediterranean Diet which includes legumes in general, and pulses in particular, either as the main dish or as soup, or even for entries and desserts. We consume soup everyday, and very often the soup is prepared with pulses. Our cuisine including pulses is not new, it is very traditional. In the past, we used frequently pulses in our diet but at present the consumption has been decreasing. Actually, each Portuguese consumes about 4.1 kg pulses, mainly beans (3.2 kg) and chickpea (0.9 kg).

·Do you have any examples on how the consumption of pulses contributes to household food security and nutrition in your community or country, which may be useful in different contexts?

The Portuguese Health Ministry has strongly advertised the beneficial of replacement of animal protein for grain legumes in order to prevent the obesity, and diseases like the diabetes and heart diseases. People have been accepting the recommendation.

·What are the main challenges that farmers in your country face with regard to the production of pulses? How should these be addressed?

Farmers produce pulses depending on the subsidy politics, but also on markets. Actual production of pulses in Portugal represents only 0.4% of world production. In 2004, fababean production was 30,000 t per 3,000 ha, and for peas was 10,000 t per 1,550 ha.

Portuguese farmers know about the economic and environmental benefits of producing the grain legumes. However, in order to produce more pulses new varieties highly productive and more resistant to hydric stress are necessary.

·Are you aware of any research or studies on the role of pulses in climate change adaptation or mitigation? Please share them with us.

Portugal has an institute (INIAV) for germplasm resources and plant breeding studies. This institute has produced several bred varieties well adapted for different climatic conditions such as: five varieties for chickpea, two for peas, one for fababean, one for lentil, one for cowpea, and one for white lupine.

·The International Year of Pulses also includes a call for recipes to provide ideas and inspiration on how to consume these nutritious seeds. Would you like to share yours?

Soup with beans:

Boil in water the beans (about 350 g already cooked) with some potatoes (4 big ones), one onion, two carrots and a radish, with a piece of salt. When cooked, crush everything and add about 150 g (cooked) beans, 250 g of (boiled) spinach and some sliced spicy sausage. Adjust the water content and salt, and let it boil for few minutes. Turn off the stove and add olive oil, as you like.

Chickpea flounder (dessert):

Filling content:

500 g of cooked and skinless chickpea (grain)
500 g sugar
2 egg yolks
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lemon peel


500 g flour
1 cup white wine
½ cup bathes
½ cup of warm water and salt