2021! ThE InternationaL YeaR of Fruits & VegetableS

Did you know that 2021 is the international year of fruits and vegetables? But that’s not all. Find out more about this brand new year below.

One might imagine that 2021 could have been the international year of vaccines. Since the beginning of 2021, all countries around the world run after the immunization of their citizens. But the designation of a year to mark a particular topic is done well in advance by the United Nations (UN). Therefore, vaccines are not yet on the agenda, but they surely will be soon. 

Along with this, why are some topics and not others chosen to lead a year?

On 25 September 2015 the UN approved a set of Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are meant to achieve a world free from poverty, hunger and disease. To do so, the member states of the UN adopted the 2030 Agenda. This agenda, entitled “Transforming our World”, includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

International year of fruits and vegetables

Plus, to tackle these goals all countries and actors must develop efforts. But what does this really mean? It implies that targets must be achieved in every context. In other words, institutions, businesses, academia, society and individuals must collaborate all together. It requires a multi-stakeholder approach.

Furthermore, the SDGs are interlinked. Ergo, we cannot focus on one issue at a time. Therefore, 2021 is not only the international year of Fruits and Vegetables, but also of the following concerns:

Peace and Trust (A/RES/73/338)
The Elimination of Child Labour (A/RES/73/327)
Creative Economy for Sustainable Development (A/RES/74/198)

Then, the purpose of the UN in 2021 is to promote especially the following SDGs:

And as we are bananas, we would like to highlight the importance of the measures related to our International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. Because the period 2016-2025 was also proclaimed the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition

What can we do to participate?

It was on December 19th, 2019 when 2021 was declared the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. In its resolution (Resolution of the UN A/RES/74/244), several calls for action were collected. The UN encourages all stakeholders to work together as follows:

  • As an individual: Keep a balanced diet that includes abundant fruits and vegetables. Encourage your kids to eat fruits and vegetables. We can all promote healthy diets, where fruits and vegetables should make up half of our plate at any given meal.

  • As a company: Promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables. But also promote a fair supply chain. As a stakeholder of the retail market, supermarkets can help to promote a fair consumption of fruits and vegetables by keeping fair prices for all growers. Moreover, according to the UN, businesses can develop tools to improve “the sustainability of storage, transport, trade, processing, transformation, retail, waste reduction and recycling”.

  • As a country: As also foreseen by the UN Resolution A/RES/74/244, countries canraise awareness of the nutritional and health benefits of fruits and vegetables consumption”. As well, international institutions can work “to strengthen the capacity-building of developing countries to adopt innovative approaches and technology”. 

But public organisations can also work hand-in-hand with private ones for the purpose set out in the mentioned Resolution: “to integrate smallholders into global production, value and supply chains for the sustainable production and consumption of fruits and vegetables”.

And, last but not least, we can all contribute to combat the loss and waste of fruits and vegetables.

Thus, to achieve all that, the UN stresses that ”the costs of all activities … should be met through voluntary contributions, including from the private sector”. So, let’s contribute and support the International Year of fruits and Vegetables!.