BEPA Press Release (20.12.13)

UNITED NATIONS PROCLAIMS 2016 AS ‘INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF PULSES’

BEPA-INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF PULSES

Pulses have captured the attention of the United Nations.  Today, the General Assembly of the UN in New York voted to declare 2016 as the ‘International Year of Pulses’.

“This is an extraordinary day for the global Beans, Peas & Lentils (Pulse) industry,” declared Andy Bury, President of the British Edible Pulse Association (BEPA). “Beans, Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas have been the cornerstone of global nutrition for centuries.  Having a UN dedicated year will raise the level of awareness of pulses and the important role they can play in health and nutrition, food security and environmental sustainability.”

Beyond traditional markets, pulses have steadily increased in popularity as people around the world recognise their appeal as nutritious, versatile foods that can play an essential part in healthy diets.  Today, the UK is one the world’s leading producers and exporters of faba beans and marrowfat peas, as well as the world’s biggest importers of white beans which are manufactured into iconic Baked Beans in tomato sauce. Chickpeas are a main ingredient in Hummus which has become a popular and healthy snack food in the UK.  Stews & soups made with Lentils provide warming and nourishing winter foods.

The idea of a year dedicated to recognising the role of pulses in sustainable agriculture and healthy diets was conceived by Hakan Bahceci, chairman of CICILS, the International Pulse Trade and Industries Confederation.  Through the determined support of the several countries, in particular Turkey and Pakistan, and the support of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Year of Pulses was passed by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 2013. 

“This is the greatest opportunity in a century to give pulses the attention they deserve.  Pulses can help to increase food security for those with shortages and to tackle the increase of diseases linked to lifestyles such as obesity and diabetes.  Plus, they improve cropping systems and are good for farmers,” says Hakan Bahceci, Chairman of CICILS.  “The International Year of Pulses will give pulses additional research attention and nutritional programming, which will lead to dietary uptake.  Increased pulse consumption will grow both healthier people and a healthier planet.  We deeply appreciate the United Nation's dedication to the task.”

CICILS has set aside $1.1 million to fund activities related to the Year.  A series of national committees are being established around the world by CICILS members to work with their governments, farmers, NGOs, retailers, food manufacturers, health & science organisations and UN bodies to make 2016 a success globally and in each country.  There is already an active UK Promotion Group which is working with the involvement and support of BEPA (British Edible Pulse Association) and GAFTA (Grain & Feed Trade Association).

“With rates of diabetes and obesity on the rise around the world, the International Year of Pulses presents an opportunity to recognise pulses for their exceptional potential to offer nutritional well being to people everywhere,” says Andy Bury.  “2016 will also be an important occasion to learn about the wonderful pulse culinary traditions, and to discover new ways to create healthier foods containing pulse ingredients in the future.”