Welcoming the news, Andy Bury, president of the British Edible Pulse Association (BEPA) said: "This is an extraordinary day for the global beans, peas & lentils (Pulse) industry."
"Beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas have been the cornerstone of global nutrition for centuries. Having a UN dedicated year will raise the level of awareness of pulses and the important role they can play in health and nutrition, food security and environmental sustainability."
The UK is one the world’s leading producers and exporters of faba beans and marrowfat peas, as well as the world’s biggest importers of white beans which are manufactured into iconic Baked Beans in tomato sauce.
The idea of a year dedicated to recognising the role of pulses in sustainable agriculture and healthy diets was conceived by Hakan Bahceci, chairman of CICILS, the International Pulse Trade and Industries Confederation.
"This is the greatest opportunity in a century to give pulses the attention they deserve. Pulses can help to increase food security for those with shortages and to tackle the increase of diseases linked to lifestyles such as obesity and diabetes. Plus, they improve cropping systems and are good for farmers," says Hakan Bahceci, Chairman of CICILS.
CICILS has set aside $1.1 million to fund activities related to the year. A series of national committees are being established around the world by CICILS members to work with their governments, farmers, NGOs, retailers, food manufacturers, health & science organisations and UN bodies to make 2016 a success.
There is already an active UK Promotion Group which is working with the involvement and support of BEPA and GAFTA (Grain & Feed Trade Association).