Pulses, for example, dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas, are produced by the family of plants called legumes. Pulses are tremendously important for many reasons, not least is that they are high in protein and therefore crucial for food security in many parts of the developing world. Due to their ability to fix nitrogen through the interaction of legume roots with specialised bacteria (Rhizobia), they are important for improving and maintaining the fertility of the soil in which they are grown. For this reason, pulses play a crucial role in crop rotation programmes all over the world. With a growing awareness of the environmental problems of a world dependent on agricultural intensification for meat production and health issues such as obesity and type II diabetes, one part of the solution to both these is to increase levels of pulses in our diet.
The UN says it will be using IYP
“to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. The Year will create a unique opportunity to encourage connections throughout the food chain that would better utilize pulse-based proteins, further global production of pulses, better utilize crop rotations and address the challenges in the trade of pulses.”
World Soil Day, 5 December 2015
As the The United Nations’ International Year of Soils of 2015 comes to a close, the importance of healthy soils is highlighted in Microbiology Society’s briefing entitled Food Security from the Soil Microbiome. A copy of the report can be downloaded from the Microbiology Society here.