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International Year of Pulses: Near East and Nile Valley Regional Dialogue

The Near East and Nile Valley Regional Dialogue on the International Year of Pulses in Cairo, Egypt was hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in cooperation with The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). More than 20 experts met on November 2nd and 3rd, to share their knowledge and experience, covering all aspects related to pulses and legumes in the region and beyond.

In addition to FAO and ICARDA experts, the regional dialogue was attended by experts from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute, the Sudanese Agricultural Research Center, and the Egyptian Agricultural Research Center.

Mr. Pasquale Steduto, FAO Regional Strategic Programmes Coordinator, stressed in his inaugural message on the importance of regional dialogues as a medium for knowledge sharing, on the road to the Global dialogue, which will be hosted at FAO HQ towards the end of this month.

Mr. Steduto said that pulses are very relevant to the ongoing discussion about nutritional value of food; they offer a unique resilience opportunity to farming families. He urged agri-investors to consider research on pulses as a priority until their breeding and management reaches the same standard of staple crops.

Ms. Maggie Habib, FAO’s Special International Year of Pulses Ambassador for the Near East, shared her experience in advocating for the pulses throughout this year, and confirmed that “the pulses which were the main foods since the dawn of humanity will remain as the food of the future, and one of the best options to address the challenges of climate change.”

Positioning the regional dialogue on pulses within the global framework of the International year of Pulses, was presented by Mr. Aladdin Hamwieh (ICARDA) and Mr. Mohamed Dost (FAO).

This was followed by a presentation of Fouad Maalouf (ICARDA) over Current constraints, successes and future challenges facing pulses in the Near East, Nile Valley and North Africa Region.

Then Shiv Kumar Agrawal (ICARDA) revealed the findings of the Research Strategy for Pulses Sufficiency in Region. 

Food security was presented by Clemens Breisinger (IFPRI), while Murari Singh (ICARDA) spoke about Suitability and Identification of Pulses in Cropping Systems for Nutritional Security, Better Livelihood and Mitigation for Climate Change: Need for on-farm experimentation and minimum datasets for modelling for out-scaling of the production system.

Mr. Mohammad Kharrat (ICARDA) spoke about Pulse production in North Africa, followed by Aladdin Hamwieh (ICARDA) who spoke about Pulses contribution to sustainable agriculture in a changing environment.

Dr. Hatem Abo Taleb spoke about Legume-Biological nitrogen fixation, before allowing participants from Lebanon, Sudan and Egypt to discuss challenges and demands at national levels.

The two days’ dialogue was concluded by open discussions, followed by regional recommendations which will be presented to the Global Dialogue in Rome about the pulses, the nutritive seeds for a sustainable future. 

Distributed by APO on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).