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Hummus to the Rescue: Bulgaria Steps up Chickpea Exports

The war in Ukraine is having unexpected effects far and wide. A key source of protein for countries in the Middle East and India, the demand for chickpeas outstripped the supply, with both Russia and Ukraine being among the top producers. Can small players familiar with the crop, like Bulgaria, step up to the challenge? An article in 3Seas Europe searches for answers.

Before it hit hip joints across the world, mostly in the form of hummus, chickpeas were a staple across the Middle East and Asia. Always a good choice for those who rely on plant-based food rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, the legume has been around for thousands of years. The crop was already being used in Mesopotamia 7,500 years ago.

With Africa and Asia both being considered home to the chickpea, the nutritional bean at one point made an appearance in the Balkans. The Bulgarian Saint John of Rila (876 – c. 946) also mentions it in his works. Over the centuries, the chickpea stayed on Bulgarian lands but without making a splash. While the legume is a popular ingredient in dishes in Greece just across Bulgaria’s southern border, one will have a hard time finding it in Bulgarian restaurants, which are yet to be familiarized with hummus. And yet, Bulgaria consistently is trying to establish itself as an important exporter, especially to countries where the chickpea needs no introduction. MORE

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