According to official released statistics pulses represent a global industry worth over USD 100 billion. This high valuable data is of course attributed to a hungry global pulses demand that has been growing rapidly over the years.
In order to tap into this potential market VECO East Africa supported farmers in participating and celebrating the International Year of Pulses (IYP), which was a two days Agribusiness Expo organized by the East Africa Grain Council (EAGC) on 24th and 25th June at Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) in Arusha, Tanzania. The event primary focused at showcasing current innovations in the pulses value chains in order to realize more value and tap into new markets.
The Expo which ran by the theme “PULSE as big market opportunity for smallholder farmers” brought together key players in the agro industry, including agro dealers, farm equipment traders, food processors, players in the financial sector such as banks, insurance companies and research institutions among others was a platform for farmers and other actors in the pulses value chain network to learn from each other, create business contacts and linkages and explore business opportunities for their pulses products and services. VECO East Africa was among the partners who sponsored the event which attracted more than 2000 participants.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Dr. Florence Turuka officiated the event and insisted on the use modern farming technologies for the sake of developing the agriculture sector which is the backbone of the country's economy. He keenly emphasizes on the proper use of good agricultural practices in order to improve on pulse products’ safety, to increase global market demand to cater for global swelling populations and as the end result increase on incomes and improved nutrition through awareness creation on nutritional values of pulses.
"Our country has been blessed with pulses production from the family of cowpeas, pigeon peas, chickpeas and dried beans which are mainly exported to traditional markets. However, in order to extremely tap into the global market demand and become a leader in quality pulse production I would like to urge you to pay attention to the good agricultural practices as a guide for quality products which are needed by international markets" Said the Permanent when addressing the participants during the Expo.
Apart from fetching high global markets demand, just as highlighted by FAO the super food of the future was declared to bear several benefits as they are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet as they are rich in Proteins, Iron, Minerals and without forgetting fibre. In addition to that, they are low in Fat and answers to the two edged challenge of chronic hunger and poor eating habits. Furthermore, it has also believed of possessing capability to boost immune system, have a positive effect on the nervous system and an ideal for diabetics and celiac disease.
Pointing out that India and Pakistan being the key export markets for Tanzanian pulses the PS also emphasized that the government is implementing a series of plans and policies to curb the challenges that associated with access to quality inputs, seeds, machinery, skills, and develop postharvest handling services and infrastructures through partnerships with stakeholders for increased production quantities and quality.
Official data from the Ministry of Agriculture indicates that pulse export trade is attributed by a mere 15% of total production, while the remaining 85% is consumed locally. However, these exports have indicated a significant increase over the last 12 years from US$2.4 billion in 2002 to US$7.7 billion in 2014. Trade indicators state that event with this export increase the growth rate slowed slightly by 8% growth in 2010–2014 compared to 9% growth rate which was reported in 2002–2006.
VECO East Africa project is geared at increasing farmers' earnings and as a result reducing the poverty levels across the regions through farming. The organization will continue to empower farmers by facilitating them with production and marketing skills and opportunities in order to tap into the global product demand.
The year 2016 was declared by the 68th UN General Assembly as the International Year of Pulses (IYP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was mandated to facilitate the implementation of the Year in collaboration with Governments, relevant organizations, non-governmental organizations and all other relevant stakeholders.
The IYP 2016 aims at heightening public awareness on nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. Moreover, the Year’s celebration is a unique opportunity to encourage connections throughout the food chains that would better utilize pulse-based proteins, further global production of pulses, better utilize crop rotations and address the challenges in the trade of pulses which VECO East Africa is currently addressing through its various programs.