It is my pleasure to greet this inaugural event of the International Year of Pulses.
Thanks to the initial efforts by the Governments of Turkey and Pakistan, and the agreement of the General Assembly at its 68th session, the international community will celebrate the benefits of pulses in 2016.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been mandated to facilitate the implementation of the Year, in collaboration with Governments, relevant organizations, and all other stakeholders including the private sector.
The International Year 2016 is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of pulses as the world embarks on efforts to achieve the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals. The Year’s theme -- “nutritious seeds for a sustainable future” -- highlights the contribution pulses can make.
Pulses can contribute significantly in addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health.
Pulse crops, such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas, are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids.
Despite strong evidence of the health and nutritional benefits of pulses, their consumption of pulses remains low in many developing and developed countries. The International Year can help overcome this lack of knowledge.
Pulses also have a positive impact on the environment owing to their nitrogen-fixing properties, which increase soil fertility.
Much work needs to be done to end hunger and provide food security and nutrition for all. One concrete, promising opportunity lies with pulses.
Let us join forces to raise awareness of the benefits of pulses.
Let us promote commitment and concrete action by all relevant actors within the UN system, farmers’ organizations, civil society and the private sector, and make the International Year of Pulses 2016 a success.