International Year of Pulses 2016

2016 International Year of Pulses

The United Nations General Assembly officially declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP). To celebrate that important moment, a broad agenda of activities was planned by farmer organizations, NGOs, food industry groups, international pulse research institutions, and nutrition and health organizations to bring global attention to pulses during 2016. A few events and links follow:

The goal of the 2016 IYP was to position pulses as a primary source of protein and other essential nutrients. The 2016 IYP promoted broad discussion and cooperation at the national, regional, and global levels to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by pulse farmers, be they large scale farms or small land holders.

As part of the pulse/grain legume development community, the Legume Innovation Lab worked with its institutional partners in Africa, Latin American, and the United State, including the American Pulse Association and the US Dry Bean Council, to plan and to contribute to thematic international events to focus on the important functions of pulses in nutrition and health, sustainability of cropping systems, and improving the livelihoods of the rural poor, especially women.

One of the events was the PanAfrican Grain Legume Conference, organized by the Legume Innovation Lab and IITA in partnership with PABRA/CIAT, the CG Grain Legume Program, ICRISAT, and local NARS, and held jointly with the World Cowpea Conference. The conference was held 28 February to 4 March 2016 in Livingston, Zambia.

Dr. Irvin Widders, professor at Michigan State University and director of USAID’s Legume Innovation Lab, stated, "This UN designation provides those involved with pulse research and public policy an opportunity to explain why pulses are so important. In the developing world, pulses are not only an affordable, nutrient-dense staple that can improve food and nutritional security, but they also promote gut health, which is critical for the effective absorption of nutrients from all dietary foods. Other strategic roles for pulses included improving the livelihoods of women, generating needed income for smallholder farmers, and contributing to the sustainability of agricultural systems.”

One outcome of IYP 2016 was the development of the 10 Year Research Strategy on Pulses: 


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