People all over the world are getting involved in the International Year of Pulses 2016, and it is easy to see why when you look at the amazing benefits pulses have for both the environment and health.
Pulses are a fit for the developed and developing world. Not only do they have the potential to help eradicate hunger, they may also help to tackle many chronic health conditions. Over 800 million people globally suffer from acute or chronic undernourishment, and two billion people are overweight, which is leading to health problems such as obesity and diabetes. The International Year of Pulses will allow us to demonstrate the integral role these nutrient-dense foods have in global food security and nutrition.
In the last few months, we have seen how El Niño, climate change, subsidies on cereals (excluding pulses), and lack of funding have taken their toll on pulse production. This comes during a time where we should be focusing on achieving an extremely sustainable and nutrient-dense food supply.
2016 is the year to put pulse crops back into the spotlight and give them the central role they require. We should be funding pulse breeding, giving attention to research and innovation, and developing policies that provide consistent signals on the importance of pulses.
This is why we are grateful to the United Nations for declaring 2016 as the International Year
of Pulses (IYP). Since its launch in November 2015, it has been amazing to see how IYP activities have skyrocketed, with social media achieving 200 million impressions to date, and media coverage around the globe of more than 800 stories. Over 1.45 million people have engaged with IYP social media channels across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. The hashtag #PulseFeast dominated January’s activities and achieved a reach of 21 million on January 6, with 141 events in 36 countries. Read the full report here. Currently, there are hundreds of activities devoted to IYP occurring all over the globe.
We have seen some fantastic IYP-dedicated events in the first few months of 2016, including an Australian launch gala, a Pulse Feast Celebration in Sri Lanka, and a launch gala in Turkey. In the Netherlands, a food truck named Blije Boon has been giving pulse tastings throughout the country, including visiting four large supermarkets. In total, they have reached approximately 2000 visitors per day, giving away a wonderful pulse booklet for free!
One of my personal favourite IYP-related events is the LovePulses Product Showcase. The Global Pulse Confederation (GPC – not to be confused with the Global Plant Council!) wants people from all 193 countries of the world to showcase their innovations using pulses to develop novel food products, and to build awareness of IYP. We have national competitions in nine different countries, and a virtual online competition for those who don’t have a national contest. We are seeing some delicious submissions!
This year has only just begun, and with numerous events still yet to happen we cannot wait to see what comes next! Want to learn about other upcoming events or activities? Join the movement! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube (@LovePulses).
This post was written by Tilly at the Global Pulse Federation.