WITH more than 800 million people globally suffering from acute or chronic undernourishment and a rising tide of health problems linked to poor diets, the 2016 International Year of Pulses aims to demonstrate the integral role these nutrient-dense foods have in global food security and nutrition.
IYP was officially launched by the United Nations in Rome, Italy, last week, who use the hearty crop in food assistance strategies.
Pulses, such as beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils, are high in protein, fibre, various vitamins and amino acids.
Pulse Australia chair Peter Wilson said Australia was globally recognised as a producer of high quality pulse products and that there was significant opportunity to continue to develop these products across the value chain.
"Already we are seeing opportunities to improve exports with new free trade agreements and domestic consumption through innovation in production and manufacturing," he said.
"This is also being supported through targeted research into production systems."
While IYP National Committee chair Georgie Aley said the International Year of Pulses represented a significant opportunity to showcase Australia as a key supplier of pulses globally, while raising their overall awareness as a versatile, nutritious food.
"In Australia we will be encouraging everyone to make a 'Pulse Pledge' as part of their New Year's resolution," said Ms Aley, who is also chair of the Global Creating Awareness Committee and managing director of the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council.
"We encourage Australians to pledge to eat more pulses in 2016 and upload to social media, using the handle #LovePulses, images and videos of them celebrating the New Year over a creative pulse dish.
"We will showcase Australia's more creative pledges as part of the global online pulse feast event on January 6."
Australia officially starts its local celebrations with a gala launch dinner in Melbourne on January 28, which will feature all sectors of the industry.
Registrations for tables and individual tickets are now open.
* Details: www.glnc.org.au/iyp/events