International Year of Fruits and Vegetables Launched

Ernie NeffIndustry News Release

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The director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Qu Dongyu, recently launched the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021 (IYFV 2021).  

IYFV 2021 is dedicated to raising awareness about the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health. FAO is the lead agency for celebrating the year in collaboration with other organizations.

Qu noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged people to find new ways of fighting hunger and malnutrition. He said IYFV would highlight the role of digital technologies in improving nutrition and market opportunities.

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“In the current health crisis we are facing around the world, promoting healthy diets to strengthen our immune systems is especially appropriate,” Qu said.

He encouraged countries to see the IYFV 2021 as an opportunity to improve infrastructure and farming practices, thereby supporting small scale farmers. He emphasized that fruits and vegetables were a good way for farmers to create cash crops.

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and beneficial phytochemicals. FAO and the World Health Organization recommend that each adult consumes at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity, as well as to counter micronutrient deficiencies.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to transform and rebalance the way our food is produced and consumed has only been further stressed.

Qu noted that food loss and waste in the fruit and vegetable sector remains a problem with considerable consequences. He said innovative technologies and approaches “can help (in) maintaining safety and quality, increasing the shelf life of fresh produce items and preserving their high nutritional value.”

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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