The annual conference of Global Pulses Confederation (GPC), the not-for-profit peak body for the whole global pulses industry value chain, opened in Colombo yesterday with the participation of more than 500 high profile global pulses heavyweights.
Addressing the "Pulses 18 -The Future of Food" in Colombo on Tuesday, Sri Lanka's Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen thanking the Dubai-headquartered Global Pulse Confederation for choosing Colombo to host the event said it is an honor to Sri Lanka.
More than 500 leading pulse and legume industry representatives from 40 countries are at this high profile, three-day conference which is expected to conclude with the Colombo Accord - the blueprint for industry growth involving production, consumption, trade policy andTRADE CONTRACTS of global pulses industry.
The Accord, once concluded on Wednesday 10 May, shall cover colossal pulses transactions volume of $ 100 billion-the entire value of global pulses trades done annually, according to the Sri Lankan Minister.GPC President Huseyin Arslan said the Colombo Accord, which calls for free and fair trade in global pulse industry, is the biggest milestone in world pulses trade history and a milestone in world food trade.
"It's, in some way, like the Uruguay round of WTO talks for this industry. We, the industry players, must be unified. This Accord is the blueprint for the GPC to strengthen the role that pulse crops play through their contribution to social and economic goals at national and international levels," Arslan said.
"GPC Members are committed to working together and with our partners across the value chain, to build knowledge and awareness to expand pulse crop production in countries around the world, increase pulse consumption in the diets of people and animals, foster predictable and transparent trade environments at the government and trade levels, increase order and discipline in pulse trade, and promote the use of "GPC Contract" that protects the interests of the entire value chain. The GPC will act to ensure WTO member countries' trade policies on tariffs and quantitative restrictions are compliant with WTO obligations," Arslan added.
The new GPC Contracts mechanism will facilitate pulses buyer-seller contracts through GPC rather than directly between the buyer and seller, thereby reducing transaction irregularities and enabling effective arbitrations, if any. Minister Bathiudeen said Sri Lanka is a big consumer of pulses and in Sri Lanka pulses, mainly red lentils, are a main source of protein.
"Over the years Sri Lankans have also been used to consume locally grown pulses. Sri Lanka's consumption of red lentils is around 150,000 Metric tons. We import around 18,000 metric tons of Chick Peas 25,000 MT of Yellow Split Peas, 16,000 MT of Mung Beans. Red lentils are also a major item among our principal food commodity imports. In 2016 we imported more than 154,000 metric tons of red lentils which was around 7% of the total tonnage of our principal food commodity imports of that year. Looking at the current situation we foresee that pulses have the greatest potential to help eradicate hunger."
"Pulses are of great importance for food security in low income countries where the major sources of proteins are non-animal products," said Dr AC Mahmud, a Board Member of GPC and the Managing Director of Pulse Splitting and Processing Industries Ltd, Colombo -Asia's largest red-lentil processing plant operated from Sri Lanka. "Our company is proud be a part of Sri Lankan food supplies" he added.
Globally, pulses are the fourth leading item in the world's annual grain and pulses output, after corn, wheat and rice. Annual global pulses trade is at $ 100 Billion. Pulses are increasingly considered as a sustainable superfood due to their multiple benefits, and their production levels too are unable to keep up with the increasing demand for them.