2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, let’s celebrate!

The United Nations’ General Assembly declared 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV2021).

The IYFV2021 is a great moment for us as movement to raise awareness on the importance of fruits and vegetables. They are key in human nutrition, food security, health, and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This year also offers a unique opportunity to inform the policy debate on sustainable development. It and mobilize resources to improve healthy and sustainable food production through innovation and technology and reduce food loss and waste.

As our colleagues at IFOAM – Organics International put it, “For many, fruits and vegetables remain inaccessible due to their cost; they are often more expensive than unhealthy snacks and junk foods. Yet they are fundamental components to maintaining overall good health. The IYFV slogan highlights the importance of fruits and vegetables in contributing to good nutrition. Ensuring that fruits and vegetables are available, accessible, and affordable to everyone is fundamental in achieving food security and combatting malnutrition, and everyone has a role to play.” 

As IFOAM Organics Europe, we coordinate and take part in a range of research projects and thematic networks. These projects are key for developing the organic sector and transforming our food systems towards sustainability. Here is a recap of some projects through the lens of the IYFV2021:

  • BIOFRUITNET addresses the issue of fruits by strengthening the competitiveness of European organic fruit production. It does so by creating strong knowledge networks, focusing on organic pome, stone and citrus fruits;
  • RELACS aims to find alternatives for inputs considered contentious in organic farming systems – notably alternatives for copper in grapevine or apple and  mineral oil in citrus or greenhouse production;
  • Internet of Food & Farm 2020 (IoF2020), coming to an end, has explored the potential of the Internet of Things-technologies for European food and farming. Organic trials and use cases have been researching new technologies for farmers to guarantee a continued supply and deal with disease and pest control – they involved grapes, olives, or tomatoes;
  • XF-actors answers the urgent need to improve prevention, early detection and control of Xylella fastidiosa, a plant bacteria causing a variety of diseases. Xylella fastidiosa has a huge impact on agriculture, affecting notably olive cultivar and stone fruits – plums, almonds, cherries;
  • LIVESEED seeks to improve transparency and competitiveness of organic seed and plant breeding and encourage greater use of organic seed. Research activities cover five crop categories, including leguminous crops, vegetables and fruit trees, considering different farming systems and pedoclimatic zones across Europe. A series of cross visit webinars have been produced in summer 2020, in which you can learn more about traditional and innovative fruit production in Germany, the technical aspects of apple breeding in Switzerland or research activities in fruit and berry cultivation technique at FiBL

Interested to learn more? Have a look at IYFV2021’s official website, watch IFOAM Organics International’s (member of the steering committee of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables) to hear organic farmers from India and Kenya speak about their experiences growing fruits and vegetables.

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