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International Year of Pulses 2016 Recognized in Alberta Legislature (PCN Summer 2016) JUN 24 2016 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of Pulse Crop News.

A Member’s Statement recognizing 2016 as International Year of Pulses (IYP) was presented in the Alberta Legislature in April in an effort to share the message about this nutritious and sustainable Alberta-grown food with an even wider audience.

“APG is thrilled that IYP was given this special attention in the Alberta Legislature,” said Sylvan Lake area farmer Allison Ammeter, Chair of APG and the IYP Canada Committee. “IYP draws attention to important global issues like nutrition, food security and environmental sustainability. Attention generated by IYP activities like this will ensure the Alberta industry will continue to grow and keep Alberta pulses competitive at the farm level. It also emphasizes the important role that beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas play in contributing to healthy people and a healthy planet.”

Strathcona-Sherwood Park MLA Estefania Cortes-Vargas spoke about the United Nations-designated year honouring beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas during the afternoon session on April 21.

“This is significant for our province and for our country because Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of dry peas and lentils, shipping to more than 150 countries around the world,” Cortes-Vargas said in the Member’s Statement. “Alberta pulse producers are helping feed millions of people around the globe… We should also congratulate the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission for their efforts to shine the light on pulses.”

Prior to the Member’s Statement, local companies that produce foods made with pulses offered samples to the MLAs and others in the lower Legislature rotunda. The samples included No Nuts Pea Butter from Mountain Meadows, gluten-free baked goods from Kinnikinnick Foods, and soup from Souptacular Soup Company.

“IYP is an opportunity to capture the attention of consumers and the food industry, to demonstrate how incorporating more pulses into their diets and food products can improve nutrition and also support the environment,” Ammeter said. “It will leverage the international focus on pulses to build more demand for the pulses that Alberta growers are producing.”

Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, introduced the APG staff, directors and pulse processors in the Legislature Gallery. He said that he also sees a bright future for Alberta pulses.

“Alberta’s pulse industry has significant potential for helping agriculture to further diversify while it also plays a vital role in addressing global food security and malnutrition issues,” he said.

As people eat more pulses, Alberta farmers will sell more pulses, Ammeter explained. This will contribute to APG’s mission and new five-year strategic plan to increase pulse consumption by 100 grams per capita per week. A focused action for APG is to influence the development of pulse products to increase pulse consumption in domestic and key international markets, as well as to develop a vibrant value-added processing industry in Alberta.

Another target of the APG strategic plan is to increase the arable land planted to pulse crops in Alberta from eight per cent to 15 per cent over five years. This past growing season, Alberta farmers grew pulses on 1.8 million acres. Early estimates for 2016 show that Alberta growers seeded 2.3 million acres of pulses.