JIRCAS International Symposium on “Legumes improve our livelihood!"

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JIRCAS organized an International Symposium entitled “Legumes improve our livelihood!” at the U Thant International Hall, United Nations University (UNU), Tokyo on December 2, 2016 in conjunction with the celebration of the International Year of Pulses 2016.


JIRCAS organized an International Symposium entitled “Legumes improve our livelihood? - Beyond the IYP2016” at the U Thant International Hall, United Nations University (UNU), Tokyo on December 2, 2016. The annual symposium was held this time in conjunction with the celebration of the International Year of Pulses 2016.

The symposium highlighted the superior natures of leguminous crops in different perspectives, through keynote lectures by renowned speakers and the following three sessions with specialized presenters. Finally, general discussions will be made by selected panelists as well as audience about the future and way forward toward the further utilization of legumes and pulses for the world development, in lines of aiming at the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly the second SDG to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.

The symposium was co-organized with the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, in cooperation with the MAFF Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Secretariat, Japan Pulse Foundation, FAO Liaison Office in Japan, and the Japan Forum on International Agricultural Research for Sustainable Development.

Opening Session

JIRCAS President, Dr. Masa Iwanaga gave the opening remarks. This was followed by a welcome address from Dr. Masamichi Saigo, Director General, of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Secretariat, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and Dr. Kazuhiko Takemoto, Director of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, United Nations University (UNU-IAS).

Opening remarks by Pres. Masa Iwanaga

AFFRC Secretariat Director General

UNU-IAS Director

Symposium speakers and session chairs

Keynote Speeches

There were two keynote speakers in the opening session. Dr. David Bergvinson, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) gave a keynote speech entitled "Potential of legumes: Global needs and challenges". The second keynote speech entitled "The acceptance of soybean and groundnut into southeast Asia -From "10,000 years history of legumes and man" was given by Dr. Kazumi Maeda, Professor Emeritus of Kochi University.

ICRISAT Director General

Professor Maeda of Kochi University

Session 1: Legumes in agriculture: Sustainability, environment, and development

Session 1 focused on the role of legumes in agriculture adressing issues on sustainability, environmental and development. Dr. Makita Hajika, Director of the Field Crop Research Division, Institute of Crop Science, NARO gave a talk entitled An overview of legume cultivation in Japan. Dr. Robert Abaidoo, Professor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, talked about Legume-based cropping systems for improving soil environments in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Gretchen Neisler, Director of the Center for Global Connections in Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University (MSU), USA, gave a talk entitled Impact pathways of legumes: Increasing bean productivity and nutritional quality of family diets in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.

Session chaired by Dr. Tobita

Dr. Makita Hajika of NARO

Dr. Robert Abaidoo of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

Dr. Gretchen Neisler of Michigan State University

Session 2: Legumes all over the world: Use of the diversity for improvement

Session 3 focused on how the germplasm all over the world can be used for developing improved varieties of legumes. There were 3 presentations, namely, Importance of pulses research in India: Chickpea and pigeonpea by Dr. Girish Prasad Dixit, Project Coordinator of the Indian Institute of Pulses Research, India, Domestication genes and stress adaptation genes in the genus Vigna for sustainable agriculture under stress environments by Dr. Norihiko Tomooka, Genetic Resources Coordinator of the Genetic Resources Center, NARO, and Toward the development of soybean varieties resistant to rust disease by Naoki Yamanaka, Senior Researcher of JIRCAS.

Session chaired by Dr. Nakashima

Dr. Girish Prasad Dixit of the Indian Institute of Pulses Research

Dr. Norihiko Tomooka of NARO

Dr. Naoki Yamanaka of JIRCAS

Session 3: Livelihood with legumes: Value addition and nutritional enhancement

The third session focused the role of legumes in livelihood addresing issues such as value addition and nutritional enhancement. Dr.Yaw Agyeman Boafo of the Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science, University of Tokyo gave a talk entitled Contribution of legumes to smallholder agriculture and livelihood sustenance in sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Malawi, Ghana and Guinea. Dr.Yasuhiko Toride Director, R&D Planning Department, Ajinomoto Co. Ltd., Japan, talked about Nutrition improvement of children in Africa using soybean as a major protein source. Dr. Kiyomi Hasegawa President, Beniyabis, Beniya Hasegawa Store, Japan gave a presentation entitled Beans & pulses in the world.

Dr. Yukiyo Yamamoto as session chair

Dr. Yaw Agyeman Boafo of Tokyo University

Dr. Yasuhiko Toride of Ajinomoto Co. Ltd

Ms. Kiyomi Hasegawa of Beniya Hasegawa Store

Session 4: Panel Discussion

The panel discussion focused on how to maximize legume research and to make contributions to SDGs. The panelists included Dr. David Bergvinson, Dr. Robert Abaidoo and Dr. Gretchen Neisler. Opinions were exchanged on recommendations, ideas, the significance of inclusiveness, an important concept of the SDGs, and research issues on beans that should be given the highest priority. Dr. Kunihiro Doi and Dr. Satoshi Tobita of JIRCAS acted as moderators.

Panel Discussion


JIRCAS Vice-President, Dr. Osamu Koyama gave the closing remarks, thanking the speakers, participants, and executive committee members, and exressing hope that thie symposium will be the starting point for new activities, as the International Year of Pulses is only a one year event but research on legumes should continue towards contributing to SDGs.

JIRCAS Vice President Oyama

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