“Our Confederation achieved a tremendous success by making the United Nations to launch the International Year of Pulses. Now, our goal is to go beyond of this one-year event and ensure the UN to accept the International Day of Pulses. In this way, we would like to keep pulses on the worldwide agenda all the time by ensuring that governments and people understand their significance, as pulses are important items for a nutritional, healthy, environmental and sustainable agriculture without any genetically modified organism and with less allergic feature.”
After the United Nations declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses, the pulses became a current issue and took place in current debates. Especially, the struggles by Global Pulse Confederation and the events organized by them had an important role in this achievement. In this regard, as Değirmenci Magazine, we welcomed Hüseyin Arslan, the president of Global Pulse Confederation. Arslan stated that 2016 Global Pulse Convention in Izmir between the dates of May 19-22 attracted great attention with huge participation and the congratulatory addresses for the Confederation reached a record high; and to him, all of this promised hope for the future. Hüseyin Arslan reminded in the interview that the founding father of the International Year of Pulses was the Global Pulse Confederation. ”The founding father of the International Year of Pulses is the Global Pulse Confederation. Thanks to the struggle in the UN for 4 years and the support of Turkish Ministry of Agriculture, the Confederation achieved its aim and 2016 was chosen as the year of pulses. I am proud to say that we succeeded to contribute a lot to the entire humanity and agriculture.” The President of Global Pulse Confederation, Hüseyin Arslan, answered our magazine’s questions on pulse consumption, the role of pulses in our nutrition, 2016 International Year of Pulses and the future of pulse industry. We learn the details from Arslan.
Dear Mr. Arslan, first of all, could you tell us the foundation purpose of the Global Pulse Confederation?
The purpose of our Confederation is to increase the promotion, production and consumption of the pulses; in addition, to provide freedom of pulse trade and remove the obstacles.
How many members are there in your Confederation and who are these members? Up to which percent that your members represent the worldwide pulse industry?
We have nearly 1000 members from 55 countries. Needless to say, when we take the member associations in the countries with own members into account, these numbers become higher. For example, India Pulses and Grain Association is our member and China Chamber of Commerce is also our member with its nearly 2000 members. We are accepted as being the top pulses institution in the world. I assume that 80% of the 100 billion dollar trade is actualized by our members. In terms of foreign trade, we can mention about 100% representation.
Could you inform us about the worldwide pulses industry? For example, how many companies process pulses in the world? What could you say about the production capacity, capacity usages and technological levels of these companies?
Different capacities apply for different countries. In the developed countries, the capacity is comparatively higher. Yet, in Turkey, the capacity is high and also state-of-the-art technology is used. Talking in number will not provide correct results. For example, the capacity usage in Turkey is lower compared to the other developed countries; yet I could say that we are far more advanced in technology usage compared to them.
How the pulses production and consumption have changed in the world in the last 10 years? FAO indicated that the cultivation area, yield and production have increased, but is this increase enough for you? When we consider the fact that the world population and nutritional problems increase day by day, is it possible to say that this increase fulfil the expectations?
Pulse production was only increased by 54% percent in the last 50 years, yet the increase for soy is by 814% and maize by 306%. In this regard, this increase is definitely not enough. As the population increases in enormous pace and the economical status of the vegetarian population improves, the pulse consumption keeps increasing day by day. When we think that the consumption will increase more as it is a healthy and environment-friendly product, the increase in production must be much higher. Fortunately, the production boost in countries with less pulse consumption such as Canada and Russia prevent this gap from getting bigger.
As we all know, the United Nations declared 2016 as International Year of Pulses in order to increase awareness about pulses, and encourage both production and consumption. Well, why the pulses? What are the importance of pulses in terms of healthy nutrition, sustainability and food security? What will we get by increasing pulses production and consumption?
The benefits of pulses for human health are widely accepted. These products are high in vegetable protein. Also they are beneficial for diabetics thanks to its complex carbohydrate structure and low glycemic index. Moreover, according the latest researches, it is scientifically approved that the pulses give the feeling of fullness. The clinical trials suggest that the body digests proteins better when the pulses are consumed together with grains (for example, bulgur dish with lentils).Furthermore, pulses are being used as alternation crops due to the fact that they cultivate soil. The pulses give back the nitrogen that is taken by grains from the soil and so decrease the use of fertilizer. In this way, the pulses help the soil to become stronger and indirectly support decreasing carbon emission. In the entire world, it is widely discussed that the only way to avoid hunger is the sustainable agriculture and this is only possible by increasing pulse production and consumption. The founding father of the International Year of Pulses is the Global Pulse Confederation. Thanks to the struggle in the UN for 4 years and the support of Turkish Ministry of Agriculture, the Confederation achieved its aim and 2016 was chosen as the year of pulses. I am proud to say that we succeeded to contribute a lot to the entire humanity and agriculture.
Could you tell us about the works actualized by your Confederation and the other institutions in the framework of 2016 International Year of Pulses? Are the organizations held up to this day beneficial for the future? What kind of an improvement has been achieved in the period of first six months?
According to our records, there have been approximately three activities in different places in the world up to this day. When we consider the activities that we do not know and held by different institutions and companies independently, we could say that there is no other year that such an intensive work on pulses was carried out. We all know that these numbers will definitely rise. It is an incredibly positive achievement that the government began to focus on the fact that pulses should not be neglected any longer. Also, our meeting in Izmir attracted tremendous participation for the first time.
Let’s talk about the successful Global Pulse Convention that your Confederation organized in Izmir in May. Could you give us some information about the objective of the convention, the participation rates, discussed topics and resolutions?
Despite the unfortunate events in Turkey, the participation rate was more than expected. The participation on the state level was at its highest rate. This was also the most beneficial convention in terms of moral and material support by our members. Our guests sent so many congratulatory addresses after the Convention that this was a record for our Confederation. Moreover, the business people and scientists who join the meeting had the chance to tell latest developments in the panels. Every kind gog subjects from logistics to lentils were discussed by specialist and the results for clinical trials were put forward. I can wholeheartedly say that this was the best convention ever held.
As Global Pulse Confederation, do you plan any kind of events for the following period? What will you do next to increase awareness about pulses?
Our Confederation achieved a tremendous success by making the United Nations to launch the International Year of Pulses. Now, our goal is to go beyond of this one-year event and ensure the UN to accept the International Day of Pulses. In this way, we would like to keep pulses on the worldwide agenda all the time by ensuring that governments and people understand their significance, as pulses are important items for a nutritional, healthy, environmental and sustainable agriculture without any genetically modified organism and with less allergic feature.
Lastly, what would you like to say about current status and future of pulses industry?
The resources allocated for studying pulses fall behind the other leading agricultural products. Supporting these studies is one of our important objectives. Our federation is able to achieve this thanks to its work on the state levels. Moreover, the developed countries began to use pulses as functional products. For example, the different kinds of pasta with pulses, biscuits and breads with pulse bran addition become widespread. The pulses became the most quickly advanced consumable item in North America and this will continue.