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Global and Regional Trends in Production, Trade and Consumption of Food Legume Crops

Comlanvi Sitou Akibode and Mywish Maredia

No 136293, Staff Paper Series from Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics

Abstract: Food legumes play an important and diverse role in the farming systems and in the diets of poor people around the world. They are ideal crops for simultaneously achieving three developmental goals in targeted population—reducing poverty, improving human health and nutrition, and enhancing ecosystem resilience. This report provides global and regional trend analysis and sheds light on the pulse crop production, price, trade, and consumption patterns observed in the developing world, developed countries and globally from mid-1990s to 2008. The study is conducted through a review of secondary data and published research and analysis reports, and presents data and analysis for cereals to compare and contextualize the trends, patterns and outlook for pulses. Globally, the harvested area under pulse crops is about one-tenth the harvested area under all cereal crops and a high proportion of pulse area harvested is under rainfed-low input systems compared to cereal crops. Thus, in 2008, the average global yields of pulse crops (0.86 t/ha) was only about one-fourth the average yields of cereal crops (3.54 t/ha). On the bright side, over the past 14 years, the overall pulse production has increased at a rate higher than the growth rate in population both in developing and developed countries. Over this time period, SSA has led the developing world in terms of contribution to production growth through growth in yield (but with a low base). A major share of the pulse production growth rate in developed countries has been area expansion, especially in countries like Canada. In terms of production growth rate among major pulse crops, cowpeas and soybean in West Africa have shown the biggest increase, which are followed by pigeon peas and dry beans. However the overall picture for faba beans, chickpeas and lentils over the last 14 years has not been so favorable with small positive growth rate for faba beans and an overall negative growth rate for lentils due to decline in area. Farm-gate prices for pulses have fluctuated during the past 14 years due to supply and demand mismatch, and have experienced an upward pressure recently. This pressure is expected to continue in the near future but may be reversed in the medium and long term. Over the past 14 years, developing countries on aggregate have increasingly met their growing pulse requirements through increased imports and have now become net importers of pulses. Trade in pulses grew more rapidly between 1994 and 2008 than output. The expansion in international trade of pulses has provided a good opportunity for several developing and developed countries to expand their exports. China, Myanmar and Argentina, among developing countries, and Canada, U.S. and Australia among developed countries have emerged as major exporters of pulses. However, despite this rapid growth in exports and imports, pulse trade remains a relatively thin market, especially when compared to other food commodities, such as cereals and oil crops. On the demand side, over the past 14 years, a stable and modest positive trend in per capita consumption is observed within the context of a declining overall historical trend. This declining historical trend in per capita consumption of pulses is expected to continue into the future. Dietary patterns are changing all over the world and the share of non-cereal foods in the total calorie and protein consumption is increasing. However, at least over the past 14 years, pulses have not seen a dramatic decline in the total calorie and protein contribution as seen by the cereal crops. Household level survey data from India show the continuing importance of pulses as a source of protein in poor people’s diet, despite the overall changing dietary pattern, rising income and declining per capita consumption of pulses.

Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy; Demand and Price Analysis; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; International Development; International Relations/Trade; Production Economics; Productivity Analysis; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 89
Date: 2012-10-15
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-sea
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.136293

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