Every adult should take at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables every day, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This will aid in the prevention of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. It will also aid in the prevention of micronutrient deficits. United Nations declared 2021 to be the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables to raise awareness about eating a healthy diet. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is leading the charge in commemorating this historic year. As a result, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to raise awareness about the significance of fruits and vegetables in food security, human health, and nutrition.

As a result of the epidemic, there is a greater focus on health. And having a well-balanced diet that supplies the nutrition that our bodies require is more vital than ever. Fruits and vegetables are dietary must-haves when it comes to staying healthy. Fruits and vegetables, as dietary staples, play an important role in providing food security and combating malnutrition. The widespread adage of eating five fruits and vegetables per day emphasizes this beneficial significance even more. It also aims to serve as a platform for small-scale farmers to become more sustainable in their farming and output.

About the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables

It is part of the United Nations Nutrition Decade of Action (2016-25). Furthermore, it is part of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (2019-28). They also emphasize the importance of giving small-scale producers more exposure. For a balanced and healthy diet and lifestyle, people should be aware of the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. The IYFV2021 urges all actors in the fruits and vegetable value chain to participate actively in the initiative’s celebrations. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2021 to be the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV). The UN’s FAO aims to use the year to raise awareness about the importance of eating healthy fruits. And vegetables in nutrition, food security, and long-term development.

Global Action Plan

A Global Action Plan will govern the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. FAO was the one who came up with the idea. The activities covered by the plan:

  • Advocacy and public awareness
  • Knowledge creation
  • Policy formulation
  • Capacity building
  • Education

Purpose of International Year of Fruits and Vegetables

The UN’s IYFV 2021 main messages emphasize the necessity of a food systems approach in all elements of the fruits and vegetables value chain. The purpose of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables is as follows:

  • The goal is to raise public awareness about the health advantages of fruits and vegetables. Raise public knowledge of the nutritional and health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, and attract policymakers’ attention to them.
  • Innovate, grow, and decrease food loss and waste – It fosters international efforts to increase fruit and vegetable production. It encourages stakeholders to help developing countries build capacity and adopt new technologies. Reduce food system losses and waste in fruits and vegetables.
  • Promote sustainability – To promote economic, social, and environmental sustainability, sustainable and inclusive value chains. It can help expand production, improve availability, safety, affordability, and equitable access to fruits and vegetables. It contributes to the acceleration of efforts to improve value chains in a long-term manner.
  • Increasing prosperity – Growing fruits and vegetables can help family farmers and their communities live better lives. Through sustainably managed local resources and improved agrobiodiversity. It provides money, develops livelihoods, improves food security and nutrition, and strengthens resilience.
  • Take advantage of the goodness — Fruits and vegetables have a variety of health benefits, including immune system strengthening. It is important for combatting malnutrition in all forms and general non-communicable disease prevention.
  • Follow it, eat a diverse diet-It promotes a healthy diet by encouraging people to eat more veggies and fruits. Fruit and vegetable consumption can help to promote a diverse, balanced, and healthy diet and lifestyle.
  • Respect for food from farm to table- In order to minimize loss and waste. It is important to ensure fruit and vegetable quality and safety throughout the supply chain, from production to consumption.

What are fruit and vegetables?

Neither fruit nor vegetables have a universally recognized definition. The following is the agreed-upon definition for the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables: Fruit and vegetables are plant parts that are edible in their raw or little processed state (e.g., seed-bearing structures, flowers, buds, leaves, stems, shoots, and roots), whether grown or picked wild. The following items are not included:

  • Cassava, potato, sweet potato, and yams are starchy roots and tubers (although the leaves of these plants are eaten as vegetables). Unless gathered when immature, dry grain legumes (pulses). Unless collected when young, cereals such as maize (corn). Coconuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds are examples of nuts, seeds, and oilseeds. Unless used as veggies, medicinal or herbal herbs, and spices.
  • Tea, chocolate, and coffee are stimulants. Alcoholic beverages (e.g., wine, spirits), plant-based meat alternatives, and fruit and vegetable products with extra ingredients are examples of processed and ultra-processed fruit and vegetable goods (e.g., packed fruit juices, ketchup)

Fruit and vegetable consumption has numerous advantages

There are numerous advantages to eating enough fruit and vegetables (or even more than the suggested amounts):

  • Growth and development of children: Vitamin A, calcium, iron, and folate are all found in fruits and vegetables. And they can help promote good health, build a child’s immune system. And protect against sickness now and in the future.
  • Life expectancy: According to a comprehensive study conducted in 10 European countries, those who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer than those who do not.
  • Better mental health: Eating 7–8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (in addition to the required minimum of 5 servings) has been associated with a lower risk of depression and anxiety.
  • Healthy heart: Fruit and vegetable fiber and antioxidants can help avoid cardiovascular disease.
  • Lower obesity risk: A number of studies have found that those who eat fruits and vegetables had a lower risk of obesity and adiposity.
  • Reduce your chances of developing diabetes: There was a 13% reduction in the risk of diabetes for every 0.2 serving of vegetables consumed per day.
  • Gut health is improved: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and other high-fiber, plant-based meals enhances gut bacteria diversity and tends to boost bacteria linked to antiinflammatory chemicals and improved metabolism. Diverticulosis, as well as other digestive issues like gas, constipation, and diarrhea, have been demonstrated to be reduced by increasing fruit and vegetable diet.
  • Immunity has improved: Fruit and vegetable consumption may help to lessen the severity of several infectious infections. Though they won’t protect you from viruses like COVID-19, fruit and vegetable consumption improves recovery from infectious disease as compared to diets low in this food group.

Focuses on Food Wastage

Food waste is a major emphasis of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. Fruit and vegetable post-harvest losses are substantial in Sub-Saharan Africa and East and Southeast Asia, according to the FAO. During storage in East and Southeast Asia, there are significant losses. Food loss entails more than just the loss of fruits and vegetables that may have provided nourishment to a hungry stomach. A single orange, for example, can use up to 50 liters of water to grow. The loss of resources in this manner is considerable at a time when demand is outstripping supply. A range of causes contributes to the loss of fruits and vegetables.

They are highly perishable, which means that if they are not stored properly or transported on time, they will spoil. Fruits and vegetables may even be lost due to aesthetic or physical defects. They may still be edible, but they are discarded because they do not appeal to purchasers. The need of the hour is to improve supply chains and deploy post-harvest solutions to keep fruits and vegetables fresher for longer.

Why do people consume insufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables?

Our firm’s main aim is to improve global food security, and we’re continuing to work toward that goal throughout the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. Through our digital channels, we will continue to increase awareness about the significance of consuming healthy fruits and vegetables. Through our ideas, we also attempt to make a difference in filling the gap and making them more accessible. Geeken Chemical is a global leader in post-harvest solutions, offering chemicals, equipment, and services to help keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer. The goal of Geeken chemical is to help get these fruits and vegetables to market in good condition, giving buyers more bang for their buck.

As a result, they don’t lose their freshness as soon, avoiding food waste. We also continue to develop new seeds in order to provide farmers with higher-quality seeds so that the quality of the fruits and vegetables grown can be increased. It is feasible to boost output and availability of fruits and vegetables by providing access to easier-to-grow seeds.

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