2016 – The International Year of Pulses

Date posted: Monday 25 April 2016

by Vernita Kennen


What? You are probably wondering what your pulse has to do with hunger, no matter how fast or slow your normal rate. It’s time for you to learn, as I had to do, that there is another whole meaning to pulses. “Pulses are annual leguminous crops yielding between one and 12 grains or seeds of variable size, shape and color within a pod, used for both food and feed.”  The term is limited to crops harvested solely for dry grain, not those harvested green for food (vegetables), used for oil extraction, or used exclusively for sowing purposes. So - what crops are included?


Pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas are a critical part of the food basket. They are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acid for people around the globe and should be eaten as part of a healthy diet for humans as well as a source of plant-based protein for animals. Pulses help address obesity as well as prevent and manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, coronary conditions, and cancer.


The U.N. General Assembly has declared this international year of pulses in an effort to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. Because pulses are leguminous plants they have nitrogen-fixing properties which contribute to increasing soil fertility and have a positive impact on the environment.


Who knew? Certainly not I, nor probably you. But you do now - and you can help promote and educate others during this year. Check the IYP website (www.iyp2016.org). You will find many resources including lesson plans, recipes, and much interesting information.