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Leading Pulse Scientist Appointed Special Ambassador for the International Year of Pulses for North America
By Ann Steensland, Deputy Director, Global Harvest Initiative
Dr. Boye is the director of Research, Development and Technology Transfer (DRDT) at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agassiz and Summerland Research and Development Centers where she has worked extensively on pulses (peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans), soybeans, soy-based products and canola, in collaboration with the private sector to develop new processing techniques and new food products. She has served as an expert for global initiatives on human nutrition and authored dozens of peer-reviewed publications.
At a gathering of agriculture and nutrition experts and advocates hosted by the FAO North American Liaison Office, Dr. Boye expressed her passionate commitment to pulses and their potential for improving nutrition, promoting agricultural sustainability and opening up new markets for farmers.
Pulses are essential for the health of the earth and the health of people, she told the audience, but many people are still unfamiliar with the term “pulses”, even though they eat them regularly. She described the benefits of pulses, by using the term itself:
P = An affordable, sustainable source of PROTEIN for a growing world.
U = Pulses can be USED in a variety of ways, both as whole beans, and added to other products.
L = Consuming nutritious pulses helps people LIVE well.
S = Pulses contribute to agricultural SUSTAINABILITY by improving soil fertility and providing healthy fodder for livestock.
E = Pulses are beneficial for the ENVIRONMENT by storing carbon in the soil, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
S = Pulses are grown everywhere and by farmers of all scales, making them essential to global food SECURITY.
Dr. Boye praised the Government of Canada’s investments in pulse research and development programs that improve the nutritional content of pulses, as well as production sustainability, and increased consumer awareness of the health benefits of pulses. This commitment to public sector R&D has leveraged an additional $5 million in private sector investments, she said. As a result, scientists have identified opportunities to integrate pulses into other products to increase their nutritional content, including yogurt, bread, and even salad dressing. Dr. Boye stressed the need for additional public and private sector investments in pulse productivity and expanding new value chains for pulses and pulse products.
Throughout 2016, Dr. Boye will use her platform as Special Ambassador for IYP2016 to encourage governments, industry, farmers and consumers to embrace pulses as an essential tool to reduce hunger and malnutrition, combat climate change and improve health and livelihoods.