New Record Highs as World celebrates Pulses
Coincidentally with the International Year of Pulses, seeded area and production of pulses for human consumption markets are expected to set new records in the world’s major net exporting nations. This is a simple reflection of strong movement and unusual price strength relative to grains and oilseeds. Farmers in Canada are now receiving record high prices for yellow peas, as well as green and red lentils.Growers in Australia also saw record high prices paid for desi chickpeas and red lentils during the closing quarter of 2015.
Agriculture and Food Security – Where research can make a difference
Remarkable progress has been made over the past 10 years in decreasing the proportion of poor and hungry people in the world. However, feeding an estimated 9 billion people with safe and nutritious food by the year 2050 remains a challenge for agricultural research, development and policies – especially given the challenges of climate change, increased demand, and volatile prices.In particular, we need to develop and scale up innovations specifically suited for the nearly 800 million small-scale farming families globally – to increase the sector’s productivity and gradual transition toward economically viable small and medium-scale farming, especially in South Asia and Africa.
Four-year old Kakuli from a village in Nadia district in West Bengal, India,typically eats rice with a bowl of lentil for mid-day meal. While rice provides calories, lentil is the main source of protein and essential minerals for many growing children in this part of the world. The bowl of lentil though has been diminishing over the past 20 years – a worrisome trend.In India, 43 percent of children under five are underweight and almost half have stunted growth. Anemia or deficiency of iron afflicts 69 percent of preschool children and over 55 percent of women, which negatively affects pregnancy outcome and physical and cognitive development.
Indian Pulse Sector – Crying for Policy Attention
Pulses are in the news these days and for all the wrong reasons. In the last quarter of 2015, pulse prices escalated to unconscionably high levels wholly unaffordable for large sections of consumers in India, especially the financially under-privileged. The international media termed it the ’pulse shock’ and the local media panned the government for its failure to quickly contain the price rise.India’s pulse crop year runs from September to August with two harvests. The price spurt followed two back to back bad harvests. The first harvest that suffered was Rabi 2014-15 crop comprising mainly chana or desi chick pea.
Exploring the Pulses of India in Africa
Many see East Africa as a last frontier for significantly expanding the global production of pulses. Since India is the world’s biggest producer, consumer and importer of pulses, it is no surprise that many Indians are engaged in expanding the production and trade of pulses in various East African countries. A new research project aims to shed light on the dynamics of these ‘Indian pulses’ in Mozambique and Ethiopia.While India is experiencing falling water tables and increasing climate change impacts on agriculture, the population is expected to rise from 1,3 billion to possibly 1,7 billion by 2065 (UNPD 2012). Furthermore, India still has 214 million chronically undernourished citizens (FAO 2013).
The Pulse of the Drylands
As the world adapts to climate change, crops once termed ‘orphan crops’ are now attracting attention, especially dryland pulses like pigeonpea and chickpea that have been ICRISAT’s mandate crops for more than four decades. These climate-smart crops help smallholder farmers in arid and semi-arid regions of the world withstand weather variability,require less water, enrich the soiland are packed with nutrition.These crops provide more nutrition per drop not only for humans and livestock but for soils as well through their nitrogen-fixing properties. Over the years, ICRISAT and its partners have selectively enhanced pulse productivity through the application of modern breeding and screening techniques to increase resilience and nutrition, and to develop modern varieties and their associated production practices.
Role of China in pulses industry
The growing population and the economic performance for the past few years has kept the world guessing about china’s role in the market for any product in the world. However, recently, China’s economic growth has slowed down. The growth rate in 2015 was 6.9%, much below the recent average. The Chines authorities describe it as stable. Further, the projections for 2015-2019 periods suggestan economy value in excess of 15 trillion dollars by 2019. The slowdown in China has affected the areas like investment, retail sales and industrial output, one industry that kept growing is the Food Industry. In 2014, the revenues from the food industry in China were an estimated 2 trillion USD.
Outgrower agreements – A new opportunity in Pulses from Africa
Farming in the sub Saharan Africa needs strong vertical linkage to be a part of the bigger value chains. The access to inputs and markets that they lackcan be achieved through the Out-grower schemes, a new type public-private partnership (PPPs). The Outgrower agreements have started to become an important policy initiative in many countries, especially the G8’s New Alliance. Farmers and small scale producers often look forward for such schemes as the partner company can provide them with inputs and production services. The type of seeds, the farming practices and the overall knowledge transfer helps their farming incomes to rise by opening up new markets and access to new technology.