2021: The International Year of Fruits and Vegetables


The UN General Assembly designated 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV). FAO is the lead agency for celebrating the year in collaboration with other relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system.

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15 December 2020 (FAO)* – The IYFV 2021 is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health and as well in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals.

What are Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are considered edible parts of plants (e.g. seed bearing structures, flowers, buds, leaves, stems, shoots and roots), either cultivated or harvested wild, in their raw state or in a minimally processed form.

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Fruits and vegetables definition for the purpose of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are considered edible parts of plants (e.g. seed bearing structures, flowers, buds, leaves, stems, shoots and roots), either cultivated or harvested wild, in their raw state or in a minimally processed form.

EXCLUDED FROM THIS DEFINITION ARE:

  • Starchy roots and tubers such as cassava, potato, sweet potato and yams (although leaves of these plants are consumed as vegetables)
  • Dry grain legumes (pulses) unless harvested when immature
  • Cereals including corn, unless harvested when immature
  • Nuts, seeds and oilseeds such as coconuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds
  • Medicinal, herbal plants and spices, unless used as vegetables
  • Stimulants such as tea, cacao, coffee
  • Processed and ultra-processed products made from fruits and vegetables such as alcoholic beverages (e.g. wine, spirits), plant-based meat substitutes, or fruit and vegetable products with added ingredients (e.g. packed fruit juices, ketchup)

Minimally processed fruits and vegetables are fruits and vegetables that have undergone procedures such as washing, sorting, trimming, peeling, slicing or chopping, that do not affect their fresh-like quality.

Minimally processed food retains most of its inherent physical, chemical, sensory and nutritional properties and many minimally processed foods are as nutritious as the food in its unprocessed form. Examples include sliced fruit, bagged fruit, vegetable salads, frozen and dried fruits and vegetables.

Objectives of the IYFV 2021

  1. Raising awareness of and directing policy attention to the nutrition and health benefits of fruits and vegetables consumption;
  2. Promoting diversified, balanced, and healthy diets and lifestyles through fruits and vegetables consumption;
  3. Reducing losses and waste in fruits and vegetables food systems;
  4. Sharing best practices 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 farmers 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, specially developing countries, to adopt innovative approaches and technology in combating loss and waste of fruits and vegetables.

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