Nov. 10, 2015 - Today, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the International Year of Pulses 2016 (IYP) in Rome, Italy. Pulses—dry beans, dry peas, lentils and chickpeas—play an integral role in global food security, nutrition, human health and environmental sustainability.
Representing Canada was Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada, who attended the ceremony held at the FAO headquarters in Rome with FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva. Pulse exports from Canada account for slightly more than one third of global pulse trade.
"Canadians can be proud of the contribution we're making to global food security as a major supplier to countries around the world," said Bacon, who is also a member of the Global Pulse Confederation's Executive Committee.
Canada is the world's largest producer and exporter of dry peas and lentils, shipping to more than 150 countries around the world each year. In 2014, Canadian pulse exports were valued at over $3 billion CDN. Canada's biggest export markets are India, China and Turkey. Pulses are Canada's fifth largest crop, after wheat, canola, corn and barley.
"Canadian pulses can make a significant contribution toward helping the UN implement its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to eliminate global poverty and malnourishment," said Lee Moats, a lentil grower from Riceton, Sask. and Chair of Pulse Canada. "IYP highlights the role of pulses in addressing issues related to over and under nutrition in both developed and developing countries."
IYP is a truly global event. Pulse Canada and its international counterpart, the Global Pulse Confederation, are working with partners including international governments, the UN and scientists to host over a hundred events around the globe in 2016. Canada's pulse industry is also planning over 20 events and activities across the country that will educate Canadians about the health, nutrition and environmental benefits of eating pulses.
With over 800 million people suffering globally from acute or chronic undernourishment, and the occurrence diet-related diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease increasing in countries around the world, IYP 2016 aims to demonstrate the integral role these nutrient-dense foods have in global food security and nutrition.