The Nigerian Government says it is making plans to tap into India’s One Hundred Billion Dollar Pulse Market.
India has indicated interest in providing a market for Nigerian pulses if the country can grow and supply the crops to India in commercial quantity. Pulses form part of India’s staple food and the second most populated country in the world has a pulse market worth over $100bn.
Nigeria’s Minister of State For Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri, says plans are underway to grow the plants in commercial quantity for export to the Asian country.
According to Lokpobiri, arrangements for the signing of an agreement with the Indian prime minister to guide Nigeria’s planned exports of its pulse crops to India are nearing completion.
The Minister of State for Agriculture disclosed this at a forum of the Standing Technical Committee on Zero Reject of Agricultural Produce and non-oil Export in Abuja.
Pulses are leguminous grain crops harvested solely for their dry seed. The most common varieties of this crop include Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpea.
Minister of State For Agriculture, says pulse plants mature in four months and the plants grow well in Nigeria.
“There is no reason why Nigeria cannot partake in that $100bn market. And we’ve figured out that most of the problems we have here is the inability to identify crops that may be needed specifically for some countries for the purpose of export.
“Now that we have specifically identified this (pulses for India), the Indian high commissioner is saying that if we are ready, he will keep the commitment. Therefore, we are looking forward to concretising that arrangement with the Indian high commissioner so that the Indian prime minister can come for us to sign the MoU.
We are going to encourage as many people as possible to grow pulses that will mature in four months for this particular purpose.”
What are Pulses?
Pulses are a type of leguminous crop that are harvested solely for the dry seed. Dried beans, lentils and peas are the most commonly known and consumed types of pulses.
Pulses do not include crops, which are harvested green (e.g. green peas, green beans)—these are classified as vegetable crops. Also excluded are those crops used mainly for oil extraction (e.g. soybean and groundnuts) and leguminous crops that are used exclusively for sowing purposes (e.g. seeds of clover and alfalfa).
What are some examples of pulses?
You probably already eat more pulses than you realize! Popular pulses include all varieties of dried beans, such as kidney beans, lima beans, butter beans and broad beans. Chickpeas, cowpeas, black-eyed peas and pigeon peas are also pulses, as are all varieties of lentils.
Staples dishes and cuisines from across the world feature pulses, from hummus in the Mediterranean (chick peas), to a traditional full English breakfast (baked navy beans) to Indian dal (peas or lentils).
Why are they important crops?
Pulses are essential crops for a number of reasons. They are packed with nutrients and have a high protein content, making them an ideal source of protein particularly in regions where meat and dairy are not physically or economically accessible.
Pulses are low in fat and rich in soluble fibre, which can lower cholesterol and help in the control of blood sugar. Because of these qualities they are recommended by health organizations for the management of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart conditions. Pulses have also been shown to help combat obesity.
For farmers, pulses are an important crop because they can be both sold and consumed by the farmers and their families. Having the option to eat and sell the pulses they grow helps farmers maintain household food security and creates economic stability.
Furthermore, the nitrogen-fixing properties of pulses improve soil fertility, which increases and extends the productivity of the farmland. By using pulses for intercropping and cover crops, farmers can also promote farm biodiversity and soil biodiversity, while keeping harmful pests and diseases at bay.
Pulses can contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing dependence on the synthetic fertilizers used to introduce nitrogen artificially into the soil.
Greenhouse gases are released during the manufacturing and application of these fertilizers, and their overuse can be detrimental to the environment. However, pulses fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil naturally, and in some cases free soil-bound phosphorous, thus significantly decreasing the need for synthetic fertilizers.