International Year of Pulses 2016

IYP 2016 logoPulses? Grain legumes. Dried beans and lentils.

In 2013 the UN declared 2016 as International Year of Pulses, and here we are. FAO, which is facilitating implementation of the Year, explains that “[t]he IYP 2016 aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition.”

What exactly are pulses? The IYP 2016 site explains:

Pulses, also known as grain legumes, are a group of 12 crops that includes dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils. They are high in protein, fibre, and various vitamins, provide amino acids, and are hearty crops. They are most popular in developing countries, but are increasingly becoming recognized as an excellent part of a healthy diet throughout the world.

Some pulses are also grown for fodder. As legumes, they fix nitrogen in the soil, and as crops, this group of plants apparently requires less water than some other crops like soybeans.

A specific list of the 12 pulse crops is hard to find, however the Wikipedia article helps with a list of FAO’s 11 primary pulses:

  1. Dry beans (Phaseolus spp. including several species now in Vigna)
  2. Dry broad beans (Vicia faba)
    • Horse bean (Vicia faba equina)
    • Broad bean (Vicia faba)
    • Field bean (Vicia faba)
  3. Dry peas (Pisum spp.)
    • Garden pea (Pisum sativum var. sativum)
    • Protein pea (Pisum sativum var. arvense)
  4. Chickpea, garbanzo, Bengal gram (Cicer arietinum)
  5. Dry cowpea, black-eyed pea, blackeye bean (Vigna unguiculata )
  6. Pigeon pea, Arhar/Toor, cajan pea, Congo bean, gandules (Cajanus cajan)
  7. Lentil (Lens culinaris)
  8. Bambara groundnut, earth pea (Vigna subterranea)
  9. Vetch, common vetch (Vicia sativa)
  10. Lupins (Lupinus spp.)
  11. Minor pulses, including:

Note: In the past I posted brief articles about various international years. This post resumes that practice.

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