The United Nations designated the year 2016 as the International Year of Pulses to promote the cultivation and consumption of pulses worldwide. Pulses are a type of leguminous crop that includes lentils, beans, chickpeas, and peas. This designation was aimed at highlighting the numerous advantages and benefits associated with pulse cultivation.
Advantages of pulse cultivation:
- Nutritional benefits: Pulses are an excellent source of plant-based protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They contribute to a well-balanced diet and help combat malnutrition, especially in developing countries.
- Sustainable agriculture: Pulse crops have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen through symbiotic relationships with bacteria in their root nodules. This reduces the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, thus promoting sustainable farming practices and reducing environmental impacts.
- Soil health improvement: Pulses have deep root systems that improve soil structure, enhance water-holding capacity, and prevent soil erosion. They also add organic matter to the soil, enhancing its fertility and supporting long-term agricultural productivity.
- Climate change mitigation: Pulse crops have a low carbon and water footprint compared to other protein sources. Their cultivation helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve water resources, contributing to climate change mitigation efforts.
- Crop rotation and diversification: Including pulses in crop rotations helps break disease and pest cycles, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. They also enhance biodiversity and promote agroecological balance.
The declaration of 2016 as the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations aimed to raise awareness about the advantages of pulse cultivation. Pulses provide nutritional benefits, support sustainable agriculture, improve soil health, mitigate climate change, and promote crop rotation and diversification. By harnessing these advantages, the cultivation of pulses can contribute to global food security, environmental sustainability, and public health.