FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Village of Hope Marks International Year of Pulses with FAO Participation

@fao-rne Group picture of the participants at the village of hope celebration of IYP16

Alexandria, November 5, 2016

The Village of Hope for Development and Rehabilitation of People with Intellectual Disabilities (VHDRPID) organised a ceremony at its headquarters at Alexandria’s Burj Al Arab to celebrate the International Day of Pulses (IYP) 2016, with the participation of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Maggie Habib, FAO’s Special IYP Ambassador for the Near East and North Africa (NENA), and a number of officials, dignitaries, VHDRPID beneficiaries, and their families attended the ceremony, which included banquets of various types of pulses.

VHDRPID Chairperson Nada Alfy Thabet welcomed the participants and focused in her remarks on the importance of the ceremony as it allows beneficiaries and their families to realize the importance of pulses in the lives of Egyptians.

FAO NENA Communications Consultant Issam Azouri said the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations officially declared 2016 as the IYP and tasked the FAO with raising public awareness of the nutritional values of pulses as part of sustainable food production.

He stressed the need for minimising losses and adverse effects of food waste, noting that around one billion tons of food are lost or wasted globally every year, while about 800 million people suffer from hunger. He called for an end to such depletion of funds, human resources, energy, and natural resources, giving practical advice to contribute to this global effort.

During the ceremony, which was attended by Dr Ghada Abdel Rahim Ali, president of Wladha Sanadha community youth advocacy initiative, Azouri stressed the need for civil society organisations to play a role in reducing the loss and waste of food at public events. He urged all possible support for the FAO to achieve the 12th Sustainable Development Goal on sustainable production and consumption, and its target to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels by 2030, saying these efforts need to be accompanied by legislative reforms.

For her part, FAO’s ambassador Maggie Habib discussed the economic and nutritional benefits of pulses, which are good sources of protein, iron, and fibre, and are excellent for managing cholesterol. She said growing pulses is also beneficial for the environment and soil, and should continue beyond IYP 2016 due to the importance of pulses in the Egyptian diet.

As a famous presenter of television food programmes, Habib shared dozens of recipes and ideas of how to cook pulses available in Egypt and answered related questions from the participants.

The ceremony featured a verity of creative shows performed by VHDRPID children in a bid to promote awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as well as healthy diets. 


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