One of the most crucial issues for rapidly growing world population is how to feed the next generations. It is estimated that the world population will hit 9,5 billion in 2050 and the food demand of this population will increase by %60. This makes the production of pulses critical because they are one vital key to sustainable protein security. “It’s not surprising, therefore, that we are seeing pulse production on the rise. According to the UN FAO, between 1998 and 2018, world pulse production grew by 36 million metric tons, a 63% increase,” Ms. Cindy Brown, the President of Global Pulse Confederation says.
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. India is the leading country for production, consumption and exports of pulses. Other important producers are Canada, Myanmar, China, Nigeria, Brazil, Australia, the US and Russia. Main exporters are Canada, Argentina, France and Ethiopia. India produces 25% of the world’s pulses.
Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. They grow in pods and encompass a diverse group of food crops that includes peas, lentils, chickpeas and beans. Because pulses are nutrient-dense and a high-quality source of protein, they can help address the problems of hunger, malnutrition and obesity. And because pulse crops use fewer chemical fertilizers and water than most competing crops, they are vital to the sustainable food systems we need to feed a global population projected to hit 9.5 billion by 2050. Equally important, pulse production provides a livelihood to millions of smallholder farmers, in much of the developing world, and can, therefore, play a key role in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of no poverty and zero hunger.
Beyond their health benefits, pulses are environmental–friendly. Pulses enrich the soil they grow on through nitrogen fixation and thus increase soil fertility. Moreover, pulses are efficient water users: the water requirement to grow one kilogram of pulses is about 40 times less than the water requirement to grow one kilogram of beef. Therefore, pulses are one vital key to sustainable protein security.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that we are seeing pulse production on the rise. According to the UN FAO, between 1998 and 2018, world pulse production grew by 36 million metric tons, a 63% increase.
“There is still much to do, of course. For instance, research is needed to boost yields and more must be done to improve the livelihood of pulse growers in the developing world. But people everywhere, whether consumers, food manufacturers or farmers, are coming to the realization that, in this era of climate change and exponential population growth, pulses are the key to the sustainable food systems of the future. Which is why pulses are the future of food.” Ms. Cindy Brown, the President of Global Pulse Confederation says.
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- India the epicenter of global pulses market
“Indian agriculture in general and pulses cultivation in particular is fragile and vulnerable. Our crops are at the mercy of the weather gods. Even a single bad monsoon can result in a farm disaster. This vulnerability should be recognized. Therefore, to insulate the country from future shocks (such as the one faced in 2015-2016) India should continue to stay in the global value chain, and not shut itself out completely. This means there is scope for easing of restrictions on pulses import.”
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- A boom time for the pulse industry
As unfortunate as all the human stories are, the COVID-19 pandemic has ignited a very busy shipping period and I think this increase in demand will remain for the balance of the year. 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.
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