Burkina Faso President, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (centre) and FAO Deputy Director-General Maria-Helena Semedo (right) at the International Year of Pulses closing ceremony.

Beans, lentils and chickpeas are small but powerful allies in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

By Dr. Christine Negra, Versant Vision LLC

Pushing toward the goal line

Victory will be a lot easier to achieve for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in a world where people grow and eat more chickpeas, lentils, beans, and other pulse crops. High-protein, low-fat, high-fiber pulse grains are heavy hitters for human health and nutrition and these plants are real team players when it comes to boosting soil fertility.

By Dr. Jeet Singh Sandhu, Deputy Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research 

Dynamic production patterns for traditional crops

Chickpeas, lentils, beans, and other pulses are ancient crops and pulse crop domestication was essential to the historical development of arable agriculture. Pulses are traditional crops in many parts of the world, such as India, while in other areas, such as Australia and North America, they are relatively recent additions to cropping systems. 

By Dr. Diego Rubiales, Professor, Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, CSIC, Spain

Combining disciplines to boost productivity and resilience

Pulses are a cornerstone of food and nutritional security. With rapid increases in global food needs on the horizon, the role of chickpeas, lentils, beans, and other pulses will become even more significant. Future projections suggest a 23% increase in consumption of these high-protein, high-fiber legumes globally by 2030. Securing pulse production to satisfy these needs requires multidisciplinary research that combines well-targeted breeding and agronomy with socio-economic dimensions and market knowledge. 

By Dr. Carol Henry, Associate Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Saskatchewan

Reversing the trends

Confronted by malnutrition in all its forms the world needs to eat a lot more high-protein, low-fat, high-fiber pulse grains. The dual epidemic of under- and over-nutrition brings a raft of problems to all regions of the world including stunting, obesity, diabetes, and micronutrient deficiencies like anemia. The toll on human health, productivity, and wellbeing is enormous. Better representation of chickpeas, lentils, beans, and other pulses in human diets can play an important part of reversing these damaging trends.

By Dr. Robin Buruchara, Director of the Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance, CGIAR-CIAT

Fighting for productivity and resilience

Farmers around the world are in a constant battle to help their crops thrive in the face of unpredictable weather patterns, low soil fertility, and biological stresses. Luckily, they have a reliable weapon to help them in this fight.