UN launches 2016 International Year of Pulses celebrating benefits of legumes

“Pulses are important food crops for the food security of large proportions of populations, particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia, where pulses are part of traditional diets and often grown by small farmers,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, in a news release.“They have been an essential part of the human diet for centuries,” he added, “Yet, their nutritional value is not generally recognized and is frequently under-appreciated.”According to FAO, pulses, including all kinds of dried beans and peas, are not merely cheap and delicious; they are also highly nutritious source of protein and vital micronutrients that can greatly benefit people’s health and livelihoods, particularly in developing countries.There are hundreds of varieties of pulses grown throughout the world. Popular ones include all varieties of dried beans, such as kidney beans, lima beans, butter beans and broad beans. But also chickpeas, cowpeas, black-eyed peas and pigeon peas. Speaking about their nutritional value, the FAO chief said that pulses have double the proteins found in wheat and triple the amount found in rice. They are also rich in micronutrients, amino acids and b-vitamins; Mr. Graziani da Silva underlined, and added that they are vital parts of a healthy diet.Further, the agency credited pulses as the key ingredients in many signature regional and national dishes across the world – from falafel to dahl to chilli and baked beans.FAO also added that as an affordable alternative to more expensive animal-based protein, pulses are ideal for improving diets in poorer parts of the world, where protein sources from milk if often five time more expensive than protein sourced from pulses.Pulses also offer a great potential to lift farmers out of rural poverty, as they can yield two to three time higher prices than cereals, and their processing provides additional economic opportunities, especially for women. Following his address, Mr. Graziano da Silva planted a number of fava beans in a planter full of soil as he proclaimed the International Year opened.“The International Year 2016 is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of pulses as the world embarks on efforts to achieve the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a messasge on the occasion.Mr. Ban added that pluses contribute significantly in addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health and also are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids. “Despite strong evidence of the health and nutritional benefits of pulses, their consumption of pulses remains low in many developing and developed countries. The International Year can help overcome this lack of knowledge,” said Mr. Ban.Further, he also said that pulses impact the environment positively due to their nitrogen-fixing properties, which increase soil fertility.“Much work needs to be done to end hunger and provide food security and nutrition for all. One concrete, promising opportunity lies with pulses. Let us join forces to raise awareness of the benefits of pulses,” said the Secretary-General.The UN chief also called for collaborative commitment and concrete action by all relevant actors within the UN system, farmers’ organizations, civil society and the private sector, to make the International Year of Pulses 2016 a success. read more

Motor show news update – 28 May 5pm

Digby Jones tells cabinet ministers to drive British Robbie Savage seeks new car despite contract negotiations Matrix martial arts bad boys meet fans at Vauxhall stand Eager shows goers hit Motor Show Live Digby Jones tells cabinet ministers to drive British Digby Jones, the Director General of the CBI today visited the Motor Show Live. After a tour of the halls he claimed this year’s show was ‘better than ever… absolutely fantastic’. He praised the date move, from October to May, to coincide with half term, and the introduction of all-action features. Jones, a local man from Longbridge went on to say, ‘I’m proud that Birmingham can put on the best show in the world…there isn’t a better place to see motor cars than here at the NEC.’ Applauding the number of British made cars on display, many from the West Midlands area, Jones continued, ‘I’m just so proud of a great manufacturing story for Britain and Brum.’ He went on to show his commitment to British made motors by pledging to campaign cabinet ministers to start using the new Rover Limousine as their preferred transport. ‘When I return to London I will be telling them, I want to see you all in Rover 75s built in my home town!’Robbie Savage seeks new car despite contract negotiations Birmingham City player, Robbie Savage took some time off today to visit the MG stand as a thank you to the manufacturer for providing him with his official club car, an MG ZT.The Welsh midfielder, who has recently had neck surgery and is currently in negotiations over his contract with the club, also visited the show to have a look at the range of up and coming cars on display.He said: ‘My cars are my hobby, I’m fortunate enough to own a Lamborghini and also the MG ZT which I’m very happy with. I’m also going to have a look around to see if there’s anything else that takes my fancy.’Footballers favourites might include the new Porsche 911 Turbo S that makes its world debut at the NEC, the stunning new Aston Martin DB9 Volante, TVR Tuscan 2 and the Mercedes-Benz SLR Maclaren. Matrix martial arts bad boys meet fans at Vauxhall stand Two stars from The Matrix films made an explosive appearance at the Vauxhall stand today at The Sunday Times Motor Show Live.Neil and Adrian Rayment, who played the evil albino twins known for their marital arts skills in the futuristic Matrix Reloaded and soon to be released Matrix Revolutions films, signed autographs for visitors to the stand. Each brother owns a Vauxhall VX220 Turbo; Adrian’s is rouge, Neil’s is black.The Rayment twins spent last week at the Cannes film festival where they were promoting their new pilot Brit flick, Pirate, a modern day spin on swashbuckling pirate films of old.Neil said: ‘It’s like a cross between Swordfish and Madmax on water, with lots of expensive yachts. We’re very excited about the prospect of this making it to the cinema’Visitors seeking their own action adventure headed to Motropolis, a live action show set in a city of the future. Motropolis is just one of many interactive features at this year’s exhibition. Eager shows goers hit motor show live Motor show visitors were raring to go this morning with many arriving at the NEC before the exhibition officially opened at 9.30am. Some enthusiasts arrived as early as 8am to be the first through the doors to see a host of new cars and interactive features. Anyone wanting to visit the show has until Sunday 6 June to enjoy the event. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more