Accomplishing IYP’s Objectives
Throughout 2016, FAO made huge strides in accomplishing the objectives of the International Year of Pulses. Some important examples include:
Stimulating discussions on pulses through an online forum
The FSN Forum, FAO’s leading online network for dialogue on food security and nutrition, and FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Division increased stakeholder involvement by organizing two facilitated online discussions and two live webinars. These involved a global audience of food security and nutrition practitioners who shared information on the use of pulses. The aim of these discussions was to explore innovations that could address some of the challenges that still hamper an increased production and consumption of pulses. The summaries of the discussions and a brief are available here.
Publishing a report on the role of pulses in the global economy
The FAO Trade and Markets Division through an Agreement with the Society for Social and Economic Research of New Delhi produced a report on the world pulses economy. The publication includes the latest figures and analyses of production patterns, yields, value chains, prices and trade of pulses. The report also features a chapter on pulses and nutrition and one on modelled forecasts for future trends. The report concludes that the large gap between potential and actual yields, particularly for smallholder farms, can be filled through the adoption of improved varieties and modern agronomic practices. This would require a major thrust in agricultural extension, credit availability and public investment.
Creating a food composition database
The FAO Nutrition and Food Systems Division developed a pulses food composition database named uPulses1.0. uPulses includes a dataset that provides a complete nutrient profile for a total of 16 species of pulses, expressed per 100 g of the edible portion based on fresh weight. In total, uPulses holds 177 food entries: 61 entries for raw pulses and 116 entries for cooked pulses. A second database, based on the average values presented in uPulses, but expressed per 100g of the edible portion of the dry matter, will be published later this year. uPulses is part of the IYP legacy and will be a tool to promote the consumption of pulses and advise member states on agriculture projects, programmes and policies.
Reporting on the role of pulses in animal feed and how this benefits food security
FAO’s Animal Production and Health and Plant Production and Protection Divisions and the National Dairy Development Board of India produced a state-of-the art document on “Pulses and their by-products as animal feed”. This document highlights the nutritional role of pulses and their by-products for domestic animals that provide milk, meat and eggs. The publication also covers different by-products such as plant residues (the remaining parts of the plant after harvesting pulse grains), husks and other products obtained during the processing of pulses for human consumption. These by-products are valuable sources of protein and energy. They do not compete with human food and contribute to decreasing the levels of edible crops (e.g., cereals and root crops) in animal diets.