[Solved] Mention the advantages of the cultivation of pulses because of which the year 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations ( UPSC GS-1 Mains 2017)
The International Year of Pulses 2016 aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. The 68th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has declared year 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP).
Objective of IYP was to increase the public awareness about the nutritional protein power and health benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition.Some of the advantages are as follows
- Pulse crops can help in the fight against global warming by taking nitrogen from the air rather than from fertilizers, reducing emission of nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas
- By diversifying simplified farming systems (specialized around cereal crops), addition of pulse crops allows producers to use fewer agro-chemicals and reduce environmental impact.
- Pulse crops have a significant impact on soil biology, increasing soil microbial activity even after the pulses are harvested.
- Being leguminous crops, they are also responsible for the nitrogen fixation which is important for the other non-leguminous crops taken with pulse crops.
- Moreover, pulses have many functional and nutritional properties both as feed for animals and food for people.
- Pulse crops are less water intensive in nature thus they help in maintaining soil moisture, ground water table and are also useful as a crop for drought prone areas.
- Being proteinaceous in nature they help in overall nutritional security of the nation.
Thus, United Nation is trying to promote the pulse crop for overall development of the agriculture and the consumers as well.
- Pulses are major source of plant-based proteins and amino acids in a vegetarian diet and greatly benefit people’s health. They are most important source of protein for Indian population as a huge fraction it is vegetarian.
- Being leguminous plant, they impact the environment positively due to their nitrogen-fixing properties, which increase soil fertility. So they are mainly grown on rotational basis with other crops and need less manuring.
- They are often grown by small farmers and thus offer a great potential to lift farmers out of rural poverty. They can be grown on varied types of soil and climatic conditions.
- They are helpful for checking the soil erosion as they have more leafy growth and close spacing.
- They supply additional fodder for cattle.Some pulses are turned into soil as green manure crops.
- Majority pulses crops are short durational so that second crop may be taken on same land in a year.
- They provide raw material to various food processing industries such as roasted grains, Papad, Bhujia, Namkeen and so on. In summary, pulses can significantly contribute in addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health.
- The benefits of pulse cultivation are enormous. Some are,Health and nutritional benefits pulses are rich in protein and essential amino acids and vitamins and contribute significantly to the food security of the masses. They also help fight obesity.
- They present and help manage chronic disease such as diabetes, Coronary conditions and cancer.
- Pulses are used as feed for livestock.
- Pulses have less carbon foot print than other crops.
- Pulses enhance soil fertility by nitrogen fixation
- Pulses need less fertilizer because of their unique nitrogen fixation abilities.
- Pulses promote healthy micro organizes which ‘Crowd-out’ disease causing bacteria and fungi. Pulses use less water and are suitable for semi-arid conditions and can tolerate drought stress. India needs a robust policy to promote pulses. Inclusion of pulses in public procurement can guarantee farmers stable prices and encourage production.
pulses are the annual leguminous crops having high protein content that forms substantial part of indian diet. india has been largest producer, consumer and importer of pulses.
- There was huge downfall in its production after Green revolution which supported and incentivised wheat and rice.
- In recent period , government has taken active steps for pulses production considering its importance:
-Farmers distress can be solved by pulses cultivation: climatic effect on pulses is less as india is mostly rain-fed .pulses are suitable to unirrigated, low quality arid soils
-saving foreign reserves by cutting on imports of pulses in recent past through cultivation impetus
-Inflated prices of pulses has affected consumers: pulses are poor man’s and vegetarian’s protein. In order to make sure its consistent supply with affordable prices , more cultivation needs to be encouraged
-climate resilient crop which is less susceptible to extreme events of droughts which is currently evident
-soil recovery as these crops help in fixing the nitrogen from atmosphere. these can help in saving microfauna of soil substantial for soil biodiversity
-less pollution due to runoff of pesticides
– curbing groundwater exploitation: as happening in Pb, Haryana for rice cultivation which are really not suitable for it needs to switch to pulses
Indian government has recently taken steps such as inclusion in MSP, information regarding suitable cropping patterns to farmers, high MSP but a lot more things needs to be done:
-more benefits for pulses cultivation along with MSP
-similar scheme as PM-AASHA for oilseeds
-soil suitability and agro climate information to farmers
-procurement of pulses on lines of wheat and rice
-laws on groundwater usage which is currently not there to influence pulse cultivation
there is need to realise importance of pulses for farmers sustainable position, using water judiciously(currently india export water in terms of rice),health of people through PDS distribution of pulses. more incentives and push is needed on government part
prices of pulses has affected consumers: pulses are poor man’s and vegetarian’s protein. In order to make sure its consistent supply with affordable prices , more cultivation needs to be encouraged
climate resilient crop which is less susceptible to extreme events of droughts which is currently evident -soil recovery as these crops help in fixing the nitrogen from atmosphere. these can help in saving microfauna of soil substantial for soil biodiversity -less pollution due to runoff of pesticides
More incentives and push is needed on government part Advantages of Cultivation of Pulses:
- Pulses are able to increase biodiversity as they are able to fix their own nitrogen into the soil, which increases soil fertility.
- Introducing pulses into crop production can be key to increasing resilience to climate change.
- Pulses also offer a great potential to lift farmers out of rural poverty, as they can yield two to three times higher prices than cereals, and their processing provides additional economic opportunities, especially for women.
Pulses are a powerful ally in achieving food security. They are economically affordable, can be grown in dry environments, and have a low food wastage footprint, as they can be stored for long periods without spoiling.
Therefore, pulses contribute significantly in addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health and also are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids.
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