ASUNCION – The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, stressed the role of beans and other legumes in the fight against hunger on the occasion of World Food Day, which this year is focused on the impact of climate change on agriculture and which this Friday is being celebrated in Asuncion.
The FAO said that pulses (legumes) are affordable sources of proteins and minerals with a long shelf life, and which are resistant to droughts and require little in the way of fertilizers, thus helping reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate change.
As a star of its International Year of Pulses, being celebrated in 2016, FAO pointed to Paraguay’s native legume known in the indigenous Guarani language as kumanda yvyra’i (Allophylus edulis).
The FAO representative in Paraguay, Rolf Hackbart, told EFE in an interview that what is most important during this year dedicated to legumes is to recover native seeds, which many indigenous communities started cultivating some 2,000 to 3,000 years ago, but which today are all but lost.
He also said the consumption of legumes in Paraguay should be increased, because in general they are “healthy foods, not full of agrochemicals and toxins.”
He added that one of the keys is to promote organic production, which results in healthier foods, and which should be supported through public policies such as loans and technical assistance for farmers.
He said that great interest exists in organic foods on the international market, but that people need “more information about what they are actually eating.”
“We have to work in rural areas to make healthy agricultural production viable, and also talk with consumers and supermarkets about nutrition and food quality,” he said.
Kidney beans, black beans, lentils, peas, broad beans and chickpeas are some of the foods spotlighted by the FAO in its International Year of Pulses, for their great nutritional value and because they help put the brakes on climate change.
Hackbart took part Friday in downtown Asuncion in an early celebration of World Food Day, to be commemorated worldwide this Sunday, Oct. 16.