At the launch, ICARDA was represented by its Director General, Dr. Mahmoud Solh, who joined FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva and a panel of keynote speakers to kick-off the IYP.
In his speech, Dr. Solh underlined the need for producing healthy food for a growing world population. “With climate change and depleting natural resources, we need to focus on those crops which constrain our natural resources least. Pulses are climate smart crops as they require not only less inputs but also contribute positively to soil health.” He emphasized that pulses fit in many of the prevailing cropping systems and they need to be mainstreamed in cereal-based agricultural systems, particularly where soil health is a serious issue and diversification of cropping systems reduces risk. Dr. Solh’s presentation can be seen here.
Pulses, with the unique ability of nitrogen-fixation needed for fertile soils, play a critical role in dry areas for sustainable food production systems and are, therefore an integral part of ICARDA’s strategy for food security and better livelihoods in dry areas. As part of its mandate, ICARDA contributes to the improvement of lentil, faba bean chickpea, and grasspea productivity. Pulses are also a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids for people and integral part of daily diet in North Africa and West and South Asia where ICARDA operates.
With over 800 million people suffering globally from acute or chronic undernourishment, and the occurrence of diet-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular ailments increasing in countries around the world, IYP 2016 aims to demonstrate the integral role these nutrient-dense foods have in global food security and nutrition.