India's shift from being the biggest importer of pulses has affected world trade, said Cindy Brown, President, Global Pulse Confederation (GPC), a world body for pulses trade. "We all looked towards India as the biggest importer at one time and that has changed. I believe the world has changed in the pulse production that they grow and they found different export markets. Canada for instance is now exporting more yellow peas than it ever did," she said on the sidelines of the fifth Pulses Conclave organised by the India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA).
She said GPC is looking at forming partnerships with various stakeholders in India to increase consumption and cultivation of pulses in India. "India is extremely important and that is why we are here. Earlier in the week we were at Delhi for our partnership with Nafed. We recognise the importance of India and want to partner together to understand how we can help Indian consumers eat more pulses and Indian farmers grow more pulses," she added.
Specialised production for markets, which differentiate protein starch and fibre in pulses, could be looked into, she said, adding that GPC is looking at partnerships in India to help Indian farmers grow such pulses. "GPC is a general trade organisation and we work with UN as part of the FAO and the information that we all know globally are how important pulses are for one's diet, not only protein but fibre as an energy source and vitamins and nutrients.
"So the opportunity for pulses to be included in more diets in India is very important. And it is not just the growing consumer. Sometimes we find that when people's diets change when they move to a western diet we lose the normal, the good aspects of that diet because we go towards food that may not be as healthy. So to encourage Indians to be able to continue to eat pulses is a big aspect," she said.
"Perhaps pulses could be included in the market basket of the government , perhaps work with more farmers and start to do commercial packaging hopefully the distribution of those pulses go to India. Pulses are extremely important in food security and as we work towards United Nation's goal of zero hunger, pulses have such a big role to play. But I think it will take our encouragement to the entire pulse sector , the UN and government to help bring that message to the individual people and to make pulses regularly available," she said.
GPC has been pushing for pulses contracts to ensure stability when government policies change, she said, stressing on the need for government and trade to work together. Cargo enroute should be exempt from policy changes, she said.
"GPC is looking towards partnerships to increase consumption of pulses and also to make pulses available easily," she said. Branding of pulses via government agencies like Nafed could be a game-changer in improving availability. Increased production, can also make a difference in the country.