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A healthy future and life is in pulses!

02 December 20165 min reading
İsmet ARAL Chairman of The Board Agricultural Products, Cereals, Pulses Processing and Packaging Industrialists' Association (PAKDER) konuk

Dear Miller Magazine Readers,

In this article, you will find the assessment of 2016 the International Year of Pulses and the details regarding the "Healthy Nutrition, Healthy Life with Pulses" project carried out by PAKDER since 2015. Agricultural Products, Cereals, Pulses Processing and Packaging Industrialists' Association (PAKDER) is the only non-governmental organization that represents pulses, rice and bulgur sectors together. As you know, pulses and rice are produced by the same companies using the same systems. In Turkey, more than 200 companies provide service with their own brands and private labels in export, import and domestic market consumption of pulses and rice. The sector size of domestic pulse and rice market is almost 6 billion TL. 5 thousand people are employed by this sector. And 85 percent of the total sector revenue in Turkey belongs to our members. When we look at the production figures published by Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜIK) regarding the latest developments in the pulse sector, we see a clear production loss in years. Looking at the past, we see periods where Turkey achieved a total annual pulse production of 1.5 million tons at the beginning of 1990s. Moreover, Turkey was ranked first or second in the world in these years.

DECREASE IN PULSE PRODUCTION We may say that the pulse production and export of Turkey was at its peak at the end of 80s and the beginning of 90s. In those years, even 750 thousand tons of export was seen. The revenue obtained then was around 750 million dollars with current prices. If the production and export structure in those years could have been continued, we could have be talking about 750 million dollars in our pulse export. The pulse fields that was 200 million decare in 1990 dropped to 7 million decare in 2014 with a decrease of 65 percent, and the production decreased 41 percent. The primary factor in this production decrease was Turkish Grain Board's (TMO) decision to cut its grain purchase support in 1994. After this year, the pulse production, unfortunately, decreased year after year. And the second factor was Canada and USA's great interest to pulse production after 90s. Especially Canada managed to be the world's number one producer in green lentil by preparing seed and soil substructures, and had a say in the market with lower costs achieved as a result of high yield. Turkish Ministry of Agriculture decided to provide 10 kuruş support per pulse kilogram in 2008 for the first time in the Republican period. This support was increased to 20 kuruş in 2014 and to 30 kurus in 2016. We would like to thank first to Turkish Minister of Agriculture, and then to everyone who put effort. Moreover, making production attractive with alternative governmental incentives is crucial for the sector. Thus, we expect the basin model to be applied. All the respective groups including both the farmers and the people of production regions shall understand that pulse production and export is crucial. A healthy future and life is in pulses.

2016 INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF PULSES At the 146th Council meeting held in Rome by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations, the year 2016 was declared as the "International Year of Pulses" with the hard lobbying of the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture. The goal of this declaration is to show the important role of pulses in sustainable food production and healthy nutrition. The symposium, where the results of the "Healthy Nutrition, Healthy Life with Pulses" project that was carried out within the scope of the financial support program of Istanbul Development Agency were shared, was held on May 17th, 2016. With this project, we put our signature under the most comprehensive pulse project of Turkey involving public-private sectors and university synchronously. "Healthy Nutrition, Healthy Life with Pulses" project had been a successful project supported by Istanbul Development Agency, carried out by PAKDER, and involved the Food Engineering Departments of Istanbul Technical University and Yıldız Technical University. Since September 2015 that our pulse project was accepted and began, I can happily state that there had been a strong interest to our project from our ministry, chambers and markets, non-governmental organizations and various sectors. Our main objective is to enrich the known consumption areas of pulses, to develop innovative products with R&D efforts, to obtain food industry ingredients from pulses and to raise public awareness regarding their positive impacts on health. It is also planned to contribute to the Ministry notice regarding obesity prevention in Turkey within the scope of "Healthy Nutrition and Healthy Life" program. Looking at the results that we obtained until today, I can easily say that we achieved more than our initial goals. The R&D works performed within the scope of the project by Istanbul Technical University and Yıldız Technical University, and their results are shared visually as a documentary, too. Delicious, practical and light bakery products containing pulse flour are produced for every age group. Moreover, 45 public spots approved by the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock are prepared. Pulse public spot is expected to be broadcasted on TV channels soon with the supervision of our ministry. I want to underline one thing: the declaration of 2016 as the international year of pulses is an important factor that will help accelerating the increase in pulse production in Turkey. Within this scope, we expect our ministry to put the basin model into practice. Such efforts will drive self-sufficiency and export growth that we need.

Best regards.

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