The current level of global research funding in pulses is too low and may impact efforts to improve food security and agricultural sustainability, a survey has found.
According to the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) study, annual investment in 13 crops in the pulses category is about $175 million against billions of dollars invested into other crops such as corn.
“Bottom line: we need a 10-fold increase in pulse research funding,” says Huseyin Arslan, the GPC president.
“With over 800 million people suffering from acute or chronic undernourishment, increasing pulse research is vital. We can only meet the world’s protein needs with better varieties of chickpeas, peas, beans, and lentils,” he said.
Several common themes emerged from the surveys, with the overarching visions for pulse crop research not varying a great deal between developed and developing nations.
There is a strong desire and action across all national and global research and funding agencies to develop genomics tools for breeding programs, conduct state-of-the-art breeding programs for improvement in genetic gain, pest resistance and quality, improve crop production and crop protection practices, produce food sustainably, transfer information in a useable form, help make farming profitable, and develop new resilience in crops to meet climate change challenges, including drought and heat, the survey showed.
In addition, all global funding agencies mention ending chronic hunger, providing nutritional foodstuffs to end malnutrition, and focusing on maternal health and the gender gap. These themes resonate around the world and across economies.
“Investments in pulses research have the potential for significant agricultural impact. The high nutritional value and climate resilience traits of pulses are well established to fight the global challenge of hidden hunger, poverty and environmental degradation, especially for the vulnerable populations of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia,” said Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes.