ROME: The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, today launched the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021 (IYFV) with an appeal to improve healthy and sustainable food production through innovation and technology and to reduce food loss and waste.
Proclaimed at the 74th session the UN General Assembly, IYFV 2021 is dedicated to raising awareness about the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health.
FAO, the lead agency for celebrating the year in collaboration with other organizations, launched the year with an international virtual event.
Speaking at the event the FAO Director-General described the initiative as “a unique opportunity to raise global awareness”.
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had challenged people to find new ways of fighting hunger and malnutrition and said IYFV would highlight the role of digital technologies in improving nutrition and market opportunities.
“In the current health crisis we are facing around the world, promoting healthy diets to strengthen our immune systems is especially appropriate,” Qu said.
While noting the challenges in improving production and agri-food chains, the FAO Director-General encouraged countries to see the International Year as an opportunity to improve infrastructure, farming practices thereby supporting small scale farmers.
He emphasized fruits and vegetables were a good way for farmers to create cash crops.
In his message UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, called for a more “holistic approach” to nutrition and sustainability noting next year’s Food Systems Summit would also be an opportunity to consider the fragility of food systems.