UNIVERSITY of WA professor Kadambot Siddique has become a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) special ambassador.
Professor Siddique, UWA's Institute of Agriculture director, is now a special ambassador for pulses as part of the 2016 International Year of Pulses.
He received his special ambassador designation on April 18 at the international conference on Pulses for Health, Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture in Drylands in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The conference was a gathering of world experts aiming to use science, investments, policy and markets to boost pulse production in developing countries.
Professor Siddique's role as special ambassador will be to raise awareness of the contribution that pulses make to food security and nutrition.
This includes talking about the benefits of pulses on climate change, human health and environmental sustainability.
"In the changing climate, the role of pulses in farming systems is important for crop diversification, nitrogen fixation, availability of nutrients in the system and for human health, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia," Professor Siddique said.
"I am humbled and honoured to continue the FAO's mission of eradicating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.
"With declining arable land and water, now more than ever, we need to mobilise responsible governance of food production."
UNFAO director general Jos((xE9))é Graziano da Silva said the appointment was recognition of Professor Siddique's outstanding contribution to Australian and international agriculture, leading innovative research in production agronomy and development and breeding of pulses and cereal crops.
"Your many efforts have also promoted international collaboration by providing an extensive network of research connections to help farmers improve the quality and output of their crops," Dr Graziano da Silva said.
Professor Siddique has 30 years' experience in agricultural research, teaching and management in Australia and overseas.
As a result of his research and extensive collaborations, Australia has become one of the main grain legume exporting nations.
His pioneering research on chickpea has contributed enormously to the local crop, valued at more than $300 million a year.
Varieties he developed include Kimberley Large, grown in the Ord River irrigation area, kabuli variety Almaz and desi varieties Neelam and Amber.