To promote the uptake of pulses which play an important role in improving nutrition and is an important component of the economy of many Asian countries, a Regional Consultation was held recently.

Noted eminent scientist Prof MS Swaminathan in his inaugural address said, “This event is a curtain-raiser for the International Year of Pulses in 2016. Pulses are an important component of the diets of millions of people and play an important role in the economies of many Asian countries.”

Mr Hiroyuki Konuma, Assistant Director General/ Regional Representative, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, highlighted the role of the Regional Consultation. “This Regional Consultation will help member countries in sharing knowledge of their respective countries in different fields in order to promote pulses in a sustainable manner.”

The consultation had six thematic presentations and brainstorming in four working groups namely 1) Policy, Strategy and Governance 2) Research, Extension and Outreach program, 3) Value Addition and Marketing and  4) Improved Nutrition through Pulses. Some of the draft recommendations of the working groups are:

  • Leverage and strengthen the nutrition focus with inclusion of pulses in existing projects that have nutrition outcomes as their impact indicators.
  • Incorporate pulses as an essential ingredient in national food security programs like mid-day meal scheme.
  • Provide support for research on bio-fortification, limiting anti-nutrients and increasing bio-availability.
  • Focus on post-harvest technology (storage, milling).
  • Use ICT to facilitate access to information.
  • Develop organized market chain/intelligence to overcome the challenge of thin and fragmented pulse markets.
  • Assure realistic/competitive support price linked with government procurement programs,  and provide institutional credit to pulse growers at low interest rate.
  • Provide government policy support in terms of subsidy on pulse-specific inputs.
  • Strengthen linkage between research and out-scaling.
  • Encourage quality seed production by farmers/farmers’ association through informal systems in addition to formal system at village level.

The Regional Consultation on Promotion of Pulses for the Multiple Benefits in Asia was held during 29-30 June at Bangkok. The meeting brought senior officials from department of agriculture and research institutes of 15 different countries in addition to representatives of FAO, ICRISAT and ICARDA. The consultation was jointly organized by FAO, ICARDA and ICRISAT.

Source: ICRISAT Happenings