The role of pulses for food security

10 August 20203 min reading

Editor Namık Kemal Parlak

Global food security is in danger because of factors like rapid increase of world population, global warming, climate change, shrinking of arable lands. According to the United Nations, more than 850 million people are affected by hunger now. It is estimated that world population will hit 9,5 billion in 2050 and food demand of this population will increase by 60 %. These developments show the importance of pulses for food security. Because pulses support the soil, they need less water, they cause less carbon release and they are rich in protein, building block of human body. UN declaration for 2016 as “World Pulses Year” was not a coincidence.

Pulses like lentil, chickpea, bean, pease, broad bean and kidney bean are ‘the food of past, today and future’. Production and consumption of pulses should be promoted for the future of life. It is effective against chronic diseases like diabetes or cardiac diseases and preventing high cholesterol and anemia. Pulses do not contain genetically modified organizations. They don’t have gluten. They have the highest vegetable protein. It is a non-allergic product; nobody has been identified as allergic to pulses in the world. Pulses are not only healthy they are also eco-friendly. They give the soil its nitrogen back. So the need for fertilizers and carbon emissions decrease. Environmental pollution can be prevented. Our water resources are scarce. And water consumption for cultivating or for cooking pulses is very low.

Production and consumption for pulses are growing rapidly in the world thanks to increasing awareness about this product group. Pulses production has grown by more than 50% from 2000 to 2017. Speaking to Miller Magazine, Ms. Cindy Brown, the President of Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) said COVID-19 has had a significant impact on pulses markets. “The billions of people around the world who have been in lockdown have become more conscious of the foods they are eating, and many are seeking out healthy, shelf-stable foods like pulses. With the pandemic causing new concerns about food supply chains, we expect more consumers to turn to plant-based proteins. And pulses will increasingly be the source for new plant-based products.” she comments. She expects that the global consumption of pulses will increase a minimum of 10% versus 2019.

Denis Plenkin, CEO of Agropa Trading, a leading brokerage firm dealing in pulses from the Black Sea region, agrees with her. “Globally, the pulses market is likely to witness significant growth owing to the mounting consumer inclination towards healthy and nutritious food. During this time of uncertainty, I think many consumers will favor cheaper proteins that can be stored and feed families for longer periods of time. There will also likely be even more household discussion and introduction of pulses and pulse foods into everyday diets,” he writes in his article for Miller Magazine.

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