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Grain legumes, also called pulses, are plants belonging to the family Leguminosae (alternatively Fabaceae) which are grown primarily for their edible seeds. These seeds are harvested mature and marketed dry to be used as food or feed or processed into various products. Being legumes, these plants have the advantage of fixing atmospheric nitrogen for their own needs and for soil enrichment, thereby reducing the cost of fertilizer inputs in crop farming.

Crops that are harvested green for forage and for vegetables are excluded, as well as those grown for grazing or green manure. Also excluded are the leguminous crops with seeds which are used exclusively for sowing, such as alfalfa and clover (FAO, 2010).