Legumin in Nepal
Legumin in Nepal

© Trébuil/CIRAD

Mexican beans
Mexican beans
© Katz/IRD

Green lentils from Le Puy
Green lentils from Le Puy
© Cilverpuy

 


 

The Chinese already cropped soybean some 4000 years ago. Many edible seeds or pods of leguminous species are of Mediterranean origin.

Van camp's ad
Van camp's ad
(about 150)

Coll. Agropolis-Museum
 

Some 13 000 plant species belong to the legume group. Soybean, groundnut, peas, faba beans, lentils come first to mind when dealing with legumes which are being cultivated worldwide.

Since World War II, the production of legumes has been considerably increased. To a large extent, this is due to the development of industrial breeding of farm animals and to the use of soybean meal as a proteinic complement to cereals.

 

 
Plate & roller for preparing
Plate & roller for preparing "chapatis"

Coll. Agropolis-Museum

The major nutritional function of grain legumes is to provide carbohydrates and proteins. Many diets are still based on cereals and/or roots with a complement of grain legumes, e.g. :

In Asia, rice and soybean complement each other.
In East Africa, rice and groundnut are combined.
In Mexico, corn and beans.
in North Africa, "couscous" (hard wheat semolina) is complemented by chickpeas and faba beans.

Soybean and groundnut are particularly rich in lipids and are also being used to produce vegetal oils.

Legumes consumption usually decreases when that of livestock products increases, unless the virtues of the marvellous legumes are reevaluated and man accepts to be less carnivorous.
 


 

World's food | Agropolis-Museum