The 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly declared 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. The initiative aims at raising awareness on the nutritional and health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption.

The United Nations (UN) acknowledge the inextricable links that exist between agriculture and the entire food system, specifically noting the significant contribution of fruits and vegetables to the food security, generation of income, and employment of smallholders and family farmers. Specific emphasis is placed on the empowerment of women through education, recognizing their role in sustainable farming practices.

In that respect, the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables is meant to serve as a launchpad for the uptake of effective actions that will strengthen the role of smallholder and family farmers in sustainable farming and production. Such actions are expected to have a positive impact in reducing hunger and poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, improving livelihoods, and contributing to better natural resource management.

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Key messages

  • Innovate, cultivate, reduce food loss and waste – Innovation, improved technologies and infrastructure are critical to increase the efficiency and productivity within fruits and vegetables supply chains to reduce loss and waste
  • Foster sustainability – Sustainable and inclusive value chains can help increase production, help to enhance the availability, safety, affordability and equitable access to fruits and vegetables to foster economic, social and environmental sustainability
  • Growing prosperity – Cultivating fruits and vegetables can contribute to a better quality of life for family farmers and their communities. It generates income, creates livelihoods, improves food security and nutrition and enhances resilience through sustainably managed local resources and increased agrobiodiversity
  • Harness the goodness – Fruits and vegetables have multiple health benefits, including strengthening the immune system, that are essential for combating malnutrition in all its forms and overall prevention of non-communicable diseases
  • Live by it, a diverse diet – Fruits and vegetables should be consumed in adequate amounts daily as part of a diversified and healthy diet
  • Respect food from farm to table – The high perishability of fruits and vegetables needs special attention to maintain their quality and safety through appropriate treatment and handling across the supply chain from production to consumption in order to minimize loss and waste


FAO of the UN Objectives

  • Raising awareness of and directing policy attention to the nutrition and health benefits of fruits and vegetables consumption
  • Promoting diversified, balanced and healthy diets and lifestyles through fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Reducing losses and waste in fruits and vegetables food systems
  • Sharing best practice on;
    1. Promotion of consumption and sustainable production of fruits and vegetables that contributes to sustainable food systems
    2. Improved sustainability of storage, transport, trade, processing, transformation, retail, waste reduction and recycling, as well as interactions among these processes
    3. Integration of smallholders including family famers into local, regional and global production, value/supply chains for sustainable production and consumption of fruits and vegetables, recognizing the contributions of fruits and vegetables, including farmers’ varieties/landraces, to their food security, nutrition, livelihoods and incomes
    4. Strengthening the capacity of all countries, especially developing countries, to adopt innovative approaches and technology in combating loss and waste of fruits and vegetables