AGT Poortman is part of the global AGT family of companies, operating, sourcing and processing in our own facilities in Canada, USA, Turkey, South Africa, Australia, Europe, India, China, Myanmar, Russia & Ukraine. It gives our group a global perspective on trends & opportunities in the pulse industry.
We hold close to our hearts the teaching of Rattan Lal, Professor of Soil Science at Ohio State University:. “There are 2.4 billion extra guests coming to dinner in 2050, invited by us; and we have to make sure we provide food for them”. With this projected growth in world population and a background of 10% of arable land lost to agriculture by 2030 due to urbanisation, the answer is notAnimal Protein, the sustainable future of food is Plant Protein with a central role for Peas, Beans, Lentils & Chickpeas.
There is the need to adopt “sustainable intensification” so in future we produce more crop from less land, producing more per drop of water whilst limiting input of synthetic fertilizers. This requires sustainable Soil Management, replacing what is removed by extractive farming so we avoid irreversible degradation and loss of soil resilience which otherwise will result in “extinct soils”. There should be adoption of inter-cropping of pulses, planting 2nd & 3rd Lentil crops on Rice Fallow in the Indian sub-continent and “no till drill” techniques increasing soil bio-mass.
Pulses can also play an important role meeting the World Health Organisation’s global targets of a 40% reduction in Child Stunting due to malnourishment, a 50% reduction in anaemia & a 30% reduction in low birth weight. On the other extreme, obesity & diabetes are other major global health crises where pulses are a solution – health conscious consumers should remember “What you eat in private, you will wear in public”.
Following the “once in a lifetime” promotional opportunity afforded to our industry by the United Nations “International Year of Pulses – 2016” we have secured in perpetuity UN World Pulse Day (February 11th) where the UK is playing a leading role, with the British Dal Festival going from strength to strength.
Pulses are no longer the “orphan crop” ignored by mainstream food manufacturers – with fractionated pulses being used in the manufacture of Pasta, Breads & Bakery, Snacks & Protein Bars. China alone looks like importing 2 million metric tons of Peas for the manufacture of vermicelli noodles & for fractionating. These are non-traditional consumption outlets, as are flaked pulses for fish farming.
Our industry faces challenges of non-scientific and non-technical barriers to trade, especially phytosanitary requirements and the witch hunt on the use of Glyphosate, but we approach the future with optimism as there is potential for us all to double our pulses business over the next 5-10 years.
Start planning your company’s celebration of Pulses on UN World Pulse Day – February 11th 2020
Andrew Jacobs / Non-Executive Director / AGT Poortman, London
If you would like to know more about the end uses of pulses - for the feed industry, for the food industry, for export markets, and for specialist uses, such as gluten-free diets - please contact one of the Pulses UK member companies listed on our web site. If you would like advice on the most appropriate Pulses UK member to contact, please visit our contacts page.