Global Survey Shows Shortfall in Research Investment in Pulses

Results of the ‘Global Pulse Productivity & Sustainability Survey’ indicates that the annual investment in pulses is about US$175m for the 13 crops in the pulse category, while billions are invested into other crops such as corn. A media release about the report was issued by the Global Pulse Confederation during the Pan African Legume conference in Zambia on 1 March.

The survey highlights the concern among leading agricultural research institutions and personnel that the current level of research funding in pulses is too low and may impact efforts to improve food security and agricultural sustainability.

“Bottom line: we need a 10-fold increase in pulse research funding,” says Huseyin Arslan, President of the Global Pulse Confederation, which commissioned the survey.  “With over 800 million people suffering from acute or chronic undernourishment, increasing pulse research is vital. We can only meet the world’s protein needs with better varieties of chickpeas, peas, beans, and lentils.”

Several common themes emerged from the surveys, with the overarching visions for pulse crop research not varying a great deal between developed and developing nations. There is a strong desire and action across all national and global research and funding agencies to develop genomics tools for breeding programs, conduct state-of-the-art breeding programs for improvement in genetic gain, pest resistance and quality, improve crop production and crop protection practices, produce food sustainably, transfer information in a useable form, help make farming profitable, and develop new resilience in crops to meet climate change challenges, including drought and heat. In addition, all global funding agencies mention ending chronic hunger, providing nutritional foodstuffs to end malnutrition, and focusing on maternal health and the gender gap. These themes resonate around the world and across economies.

“Investments in pulses research have the potential for significant agricultural impact. The high nutritional value and climate resilience traits of pulses are well established to fight the global challenge of hidden hunger, poverty and environmental degradation, especially for the vulnerable populations of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia,” says Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes.

“With investment in crop improvement and agronomy research, pulses can be made resilient to climate change as well as diversify income sources for farmers. Focused research efforts creating expanded value-added marketplace for pulses will generate new market opportunities for farmers to make farmers prosperous as well as modernize our food system to become more sustainable, equitable and nutritious,” says David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT.

The complete report can be accessed at:

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