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Newsletter sull'Anno internazionale dei legumi (IYP) 2016: la realizzazione degli obiettivi dell'IYP

pulses newsletter fao 2017 italy unric

10 feb - Throughout 2016, FAO made huge strides in accomplishing the objectives of the International Year of Pulses. Some important examples include:

Stimulating discussions on pulses through an online forum

The FSN Forum, FAO’s leading online network for dialogue on food security and nutrition, and FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Division increased stakeholder involvement by organizing two facilitated online discussions and two live webinars. These involved a global audience of food security and nutrition practitioners who shared information on the use of pulses. The aim of these discussions was to explore innovations that could address some of the challenges that still hamper an increased production and consumption of pulses. The summaries of the discussions and a brief are available here.

Publishing a report on the role of pulses in the global economy

The FAO Trade and Markets Division through an Agreement with the Society for Social and Economic Research of New Delhi produced a report on the world pulses economy. The publication includes the latest figures and analyses of production patterns, yields, value chains, prices and trade of pulses. The report also features a chapter on pulses and nutrition and one on modelled forecasts for future trends. The report concludes that the large gap between potential and actual yields, particularly for smallholder farms, can be filled through the adoption of improved varieties and modern agronomic practices. This would require a major thrust in agricultural extension, credit availability and public investment.

Creating a food composition database

The FAO Nutrition and Food Systems Division developed a pulses food composition database named uPulses1.0. uPulses includes a dataset that provides a complete nutrient profile for a total of 16 species of pulses, expressed per 100 g of the edible portion based on fresh weight. In total, uPulses holds 177 food entries: 61 entries for raw pulses and 116 entries for cooked pulses. A second database, based on the average values presented in uPulses, but expressed per 100g of the edible portion of the dry matter, will be published later this year. uPulses is part of the IYP legacy and will be a tool to promote the consumption of pulses and advise member states on agriculture projects, programmes and policies.

Reporting on the role of pulses in animal feed and how this benefits food security

FAO’s Animal Production and Health and Plant Production and Protection Divisions and the National Dairy Development Board of India produced a state-of-the art document on “Pulses and their by-products as animal feed”. This document highlights the nutritional role of pulses and their by-products for domestic animals that provide milk, meat and eggs. The publication also covers different by-products such as plant residues (the remaining parts of the plant after harvesting pulse grains), husks and other products obtained during the processing of pulses for human consumption. These by-products are valuable sources of protein and energy. They do not compete with human food and contribute to decreasing the levels of edible crops (e.g., cereals and root crops) in animal diets.

Pulses and Soils – promoting symbiosis through crop rotation

The inclusion of pulses in multiple cropping systems, such as intercropping or simple crop rotation, is important for the sustainable management of soil nutrients, for improving soil structure, and overall, it is an important step towards implementing more sustainable agricultural practices. This is of critical importance considering the need to intensify food production while making better use of natural resources and building resilience to climate change.
Through their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen and solubilize phosphorous, pulses naturally contribute to enriching soils with nutrients and increasing crop yields. This thereby reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions and lowers the risk of soil and water pollution. The inclusion of pulses as part of crop rotation in a farming system reduces the risk of soil erosion by improving soil structure (soil aggregate stability, soil aeration and soil water holding capacity) and supporting soil biodiversity (e.g. roots stimulate microbial activity). Additionally, pulses help to curb pests and diseases when used as green manure or as component crops in intercropping, the practice of growing two or more crops in the same field at the same time. + READ MORE

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