The Global Coalition of Fresh Produce recently called on national and international policymakers to implement measures to safeguard the supply of affordable and safe fruits and vegetables worldwide. The coalition also sought to ensure the viability of the fruit and vegetable industry.
The coalition made the requests in a report titled Global Value Chains for Fresh Produce: An Urgent Call for Policy Measures. The report was a collaborative effort involving fresh produce associations from around the world. The North American Trade Working Group, of which Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) is a member, authorized the report.
The report argues that fruits and vegetables are a critical element of the shift toward healthy and sustainable diets, as well as an engine of economic growth and job creation worldwide.
“A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check,” the report states.
Fruits and vegetables “also have a much lower environmental footprint than other foods, primarily in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and land and water use,” the report adds.
Despite all the benefits of fruits and vegetables, the report points out that a number of challenges threaten the long-term economic viability of the fresh produce sector worldwide. Those challenges include substantial increases in costs, labor shortages and inefficiencies and delays in transportation. The challenges also threaten economic stability, food security, food safety and general health, and may result in increased levels of food loss and waste, the report states.
“Governments should work urgently with all operators in the supply chain to mitigate the serious threats of economic instability and food insecurity,” the report concludes.
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