World Pulses Day takes place on February 10 each year. It is a yearly global event designated by the United Nations in 2018 to recognize the significance and nutritional benefits of pulses (also known as “legumes”). Beyond that, the U.N. believes that pulses are not only nutritional, they can also contribute to the development of sustainable food systems towards eradicating world hunger and poverty. According to the U.N., this is an effective strategy for achieving its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims at strengthening global peace and enhancing food security.
History of World Pulses Day
Pulses — also known as legumes — refer to the edible seeds of pod-bearing plants, such as dry peas, dry beans, lupins, lentils, and chickpeas. While pulses exist in various shapes, varieties, sizes, and colors and remain a large part of dishes from across the world, the most popular and widely-consumed types of pulses are dried beans, peas, and lentils. By definition, pulses strictly comprise dried seeds of leguminous plants cultivated for food and exclude vegetable crops harvested while still green. Their seeds are loaded with essential nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them important and healthy superfoods.
To honor the significance of these nutrient-packed food crops, the General Assembly of the United Nations, on December 20, 2013, adopted a special resolution (A/RES/68/231) and proclaimed 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (I.Y.P.). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (F.A.O.) led the celebration in 2016, and the event successfully increased public awareness about the nutritional and environmental benefits of pulses.
Building on the success and momentum of the I.Y.P., and recognizing the potential of pulses to further achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Burkina Faso, a landlocked West African nation, proposed the global observance of World Pulses Day. On December 20, 2018, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed February 10 as World Pulses Day through resolution (A/RES/73/251), and the day has been celebrated as a global event since 2019 and supported by many member nations. According to the U.N., pulses remain influential in mitigating the global challenges of poverty, food security and nutrition, human health, and soil health.
World Pulses Day timeline
The ancient Turks start cultivating chickpeas and lentils.
The General Assembly of the United Nations adopts a resolution (A/RES/68/231) and proclaims 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (I.Y.P.).
The United Nations proclaims February 10 as World Pulses Day following Burkina Faso’s proposal.
The first-ever World Pulses Day is celebrated on February 10.
World Pulses Day FAQs
What is World Pulses Day?
Pulses are critical when it comes to facing the challenges arising from poverty, food security, human health and nutrition, soil health, and the environment. The United Nations General Assembly nominated February 10 as World Pulses Day to raise awareness and highlight the nutritional benefits of pulses and their contribution to sustainable food systems and world hunger.
Which country recently proposed the observance of World Pulses Day?
After the huge success of the F.A.O.-led International Year of Pulses (I.Y.P.) in 2016, Burkina Faso, a West African nation, proposed the observance of World Pulses Day to the United Nations. The U.N. honored this request and, in December 2018, designated February 10 every year as World Pulses Day in 2019.
Where do pulses come from?
Pulses are the edible, dried seeds of leguminous plants including beans, lupins, peas, and lentils. Grown in different varieties around the world, pulses exist in various colors, shapes, and sizes, and are consumed in various local cuisines.
World Pulses Day Activities
Sponsor a pulse-themed event
Anyone from any part of the world can join World Pulses Day by organizing an event focusing on the importance of pulses. Consider organizing a symposium or seminar highlighting the significance of this superfood. Serve pulses at a special dinner with your family, colleagues, or friends. Just be sure your guests aren’t allergic to any of the legumes.
Do you know of any local food bank or farmhouse that can appreciate a gift of legumes? Donate pulses to them on this day as a way to save the world from hunger and bolster food security.
Share on social media
The U.N. welcomes everyone who loves to share their World Pulses Day celebration with the rest of the world through social media posts. You can join with the hashtags #worldpulsesday and #LovePulses. You can also register your event by sending a direct email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT PULSES
World’s largest producer
India is the largest producer of pulses in the world, producing over 23 million metric tons and accounting for 25% of global production.
Reducing the risk of diseases
Pulses are rich in fermentable fiber and may help reduce the risk of obesity, constipation, and colon cancer.
Side effects of pulse consumption
Pulses contain galactans, which cause bloating and gas, and may sometimes be responsible for stomach discomfort.
Pulses have a low water footprint
Unlike other crops requiring large volumes of water for production, it takes just 43 gallons of water to produce a pound of pulses!
Pulses grown in Africa
The most widely cultivated pulses in Africa include cowpea, common beans, groundnuts, pigeon pea, chickpea, and soybean.
Why We Love World Pulses Day
It highlights the importance of pulses
World Pulses Day emphasizes the immense benefits of pulses. Pulses have a lower carbon footprint and lower water footprint than many other food crops since they only require a small quantity of fertilizer to grow and can adapt to drought. Also, they are easy to store and highly nutritious, and their nitrogen-fixing properties improve soil fertility.
Saving the world from hunger
The U.N. believes that pulses are not only superfoods packed with beneficial nutrients, but they are also instrumental in achieving global food security, improved human health, and soil health. Pulses are also effective in overcoming poverty and malnutrition, especially as they make up about 75% of the average diet in developing countries and can keep for longer without losing their high nutritional composition.
It’s about mitigating climate change
Apart from their high nutritional value, pulses also aid in reducing dependence on synthetic fertilizers. Since pulses can produce nitrogen and other essential minerals naturally, they reduce the emission of greenhouse gases during the manufacturing and application of synthetic fertilizers. This helps to mitigate climate change and promote environment-friendliness.
World Pulses Day dates