International Year of Pulses 2016 : United Nations

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Bringing pulses in the focus of the year 2016, the 68th UN General Assembly has declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP 2016) with an objective ‘to heighten public awareness of 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 the pulse-based proteins, further global production of pulses, better crop rotation and address the challenges in the trade of pulses.’

Background

In 2011, Mr. Hakan Bahceci, after becoming the President of CICILS that is now known as Global Pulse Federation, decided to promote pulses for the welfare of mankind as a whole. It goes to the credit of his efforts that the UN granted support to his mission and made the announcement of International Year of Pulses 2016.

Must Read: United Nations (UN) and its Principal Organs

About UN (United Nations)

United Nations, founded in 1945 after World War II, is an international organization with a mission to maintain World peace, develop good relations between countries, encourage cooperation in solving the problems of the World and promote respect for human being.

The UN, an organization of countries which promise to cooperate with one another, brings together countries (rich or poor, large or small) that have different social and political systems.

Membership to the United Nation (UN) is open to any country, who is willing to promote the mission of UN and follow its rules. Member nations of the UN take a vow to fix their disputes peacefully, to abstain from using the threat of force against other countries, and to decline help to any country that opposes UN activities.

In order to fulfill its needs of money to function smoothly and efficiently it gets its annual funding from the Governments of its 192 members. The contribution made by any member country depends on its ability to pay.

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About UN General Assembly

UN General Assembly is one of the six principal organs of the UN (United Nations). The UN General Assembly, that deliberates on major issues, is like a World parliament in which all member nations have equal representation. The Assembly meets every year from September to December in New York. It conducts debates and votes on various issues ranging from pollution to terrorism.

The Un General Assembly, as it has no direct power to get things done, can only recommend actions to other bodies; however the Assembly has got the power to expel or suspend a member. To pass resolutions on important matters the Assembly needs the votes of two-third member countries.

Also Read: Brief History of United States of America

Nutritive value of Pulses

Pulses are very adjustable and grow in hot dry climate of Middle East to super freezing temperatures of the Siberian Tundra. Pulses, once dried and stored in airtight containers, have a log shell life.

Pulses conserve water as they require very little amount; growing a pound of pulses needs just 42 gallons of water while soyabean needs 216 and peanuts quaff 368 gallons.

As all these factors make pulses a very sustainable crop, the global pulse market is a whooping 60 million tones and is certain to grow after people find more uses for them.

Pulses are very rich in proteins (20 to 25%). The proteins ingrained in pulses are deficient in the essential amino acid and methionine. However, pulses, when combined with cereals they supplement each other and provide protein that can be compared with animal protein, because cereals are deficient in Lysine.

Pulses have 55-60% of carbohydrates of complex type. Their digestion is slow. Pulses when eaten with the Skin or husk  or seed, provide a fair amount of dietry fibre that slows down the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrate fraction due to which blood suger rises slowly; this is a blessing to the patients of diabetes.

Pulses are not only good sources of major minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium and phosphorous, but also are good sources of B vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. These are enhanced during sprouting and it is during sprouting too that vitamin sprouting and it is increases many folds.

One of the most advantageous factors of the pulses is that the vitamins and minerals remain present in the body of the pulses; therefore, no losses happen during removal of the seed coat.

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Versatility of Pulses

Since eternity pulses have been part of human diet. Pulses are versatile as their use is not confined to just whole pulse dishes and dals to be taken with rice and chapatti. They can be combined in the daily menu right from soup and starters to salads and main dish and even deserts.

One cup of dried pulses on soaking and cooking deliver 2.5 to 3 times their volume and are, thus, very economical too. Half a cup serving of cooked beans is equivalent to 30 gram meat. Tinned beans and peas are very easy to get and use. It has been famously said, and said very rightly, that if cereals are king then pulses are Queen.

Other side of Pulses

There are certain compounds, incorporated in pulses, that are produced as a protective mechanism but act as anti-nutritional factors for human beings. Although they cause mild to serious ailments, they can be controlled, thus rendered harmless, by some pre-processing such as soaking, sprouting or germinations before cooking. Doctors don’t suggest to eat them raw. Only mung and moth beans can be safely eaten raw after sprouting.

As there is no dearth or recipes using pulses, since the announcement of IYP 2016, pulse associations all over the World have come forward to promote pulses. Various programmes are being planned to celebrate the pulses. Indian Pulse Association is also playing a very important role in these events celebrating IPY 2016.

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