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Pakistan sees sharp decline in pulse consumption: Report

ISLAMABAD: A report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations suggests that the consumption of pulses in Pakistan has declined from about 15kg per person a year to about 7kg per person a year.

The report titled ‘State of Food and Agriculture in Asia and the Pacific Region’ stated that pulse consumption in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh had decreased over the period from 1961 to 2013. This report has been prepared for the FAO regional conference for Asia and the Pacific being held in Fiji from April 9th to 13th.

According to the report as the listed countries become financially richer their population shifted from vegetarian diets including pulses and beans to a more expensive protein-rich including dairy products like cheese etc.

Despite declining local consumption in the four countries, South Asia was listed as the largest consumer of pulses in the world.

According to the report In India, the consumption of pulse declined from about 22kg per person in a year to about 15kg per person per year. The decline was consistent elsewhere in the world. In Sri Lanka, however, pulse consumption seemed to have fluctuated between 5kg and 10kg per person per year since 1960, except for a sharp drop from 1970 to 1985, the report said.

The report further emphasized that the lack of consumption of pulses, beans and other agricultural produce should be balanced so that the poor can afford low-cost sources of protein and other micronutrients.

The report also highlighted that although the overall cereal consumption remained somewhat constant the utilization of rice and wheat has visibly increased since the population started increasing.

Citing example, the report said in East Asia rice and wheat utilization for food was about 220 million tons per year in 2015, versus 20m tons per year for coarse cereals. Total utilization of ‘superior’ cereals was still rising in 2013 mainly because of continuing population growth, even though per capita utilization had started declining from the mid-1990s onwards, it added.

The report put four South Asian countries — Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — below the red line, indicating that their calorie consumption was below the level that would be expected given their per capita household expenditure.

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