Cigi had the opportunity to participate for the first time in an international pulse-only event when a pulse team member attended the CICLS 2015 World Pulses Convention in Las Vegas in April.
Peter Frohlich, Project Manager, Pulses and Special Crops, says the conference attracted nearly 900 people from around the world. It was sponsored by the Dubai-based not-for-profit CICILS Global Pulse Confederation that represents the pulse value chain. “There were 18 national member organizations there, including many of our partners such as Pulse Canada, Saskatchewan and Alberta pulse growers, researchers, traders, processors, government organizations and consumers. Part of CICILS’s mission is to encourage co-operation between different sectors and especially to increase pulse production and consumption.”
He says the organization is also aiming to improve the prominence of pulses internationally to a major crop status.
The conference was beneficial from Cigi’s standpoint as it focused on pulse utilization and nutrition which relates to ongoing project work in Cigi’s pulse area, Peter says. Pulses – which include beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils – have nutritional qualities that include vitamins and minerals, high fibre, and no saturated fat or cholesterol. He notes that pulses are an inexpensive source of protein which is desirable in countries that cannot afford large quantities of meat.
Some major companies such as General Mills, Buhler, and Alliance Grain Traders presented at the conference. Topics included the World Food Program, future of food, the pulse value chain, and global outlook.
“This was a nice way to round out our experiences and knowledge of the pulse industry, to learn about the trade and international dealings with pulses. Traders mentioned Cigi is in an interesting position because we learn the business from the bottom up while they learn just what is required to sell. We have information that is desirable which was recognized by some traders from around the world.”
The networking opportunity with current project funders and possible collaborators for future research was also invaluable, he says. “Some delegates were very interested in our work because they haven’t had dealings with us before. If we can collaborate or share information our message can go further.”
Peter says he is optimistic that Cigi may be included as a presenter on the agenda for next year’s conference in Turkey as more international attention is paid to the utilization of pulses.
The United Nations has designated 2016 as the International Year of Pulses. Peter says committees have been established to arrange activities and promote the use and consumption of pulses around the world. In recognition of this UN designation, Cigi plans to hold technical programs for domestic and international customers of Canadian pulses.