2021 is declared as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) by the United Nations General Assembly. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is the lead agency for celebrating the year in collaboration with other relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system. The declaration 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.

In 2018, the National Nutrition Council Governing Board approved the 2018 Nutrition Month Theme “Ugaliing magtanim, sapat na nutrisyon aanihin!”. This campaign aimed to improved nutrition through improved food access by increasing the number of food gardens in households, schools, and communities.

Fruits and vegetables can prevent micronutrient deficiencies through diet diversification. Fruits and vegetables are rich in micronutrients – vitamins and minerals. With food gardens, food insecurity may be reduced by increasing food accessibility. The consumption of vegetables and fruits among Filipinos is still low compared to the World Health Organization recommendation of 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day. According to the 2015 National Nutrition Survey, per capita consumption of fruits and vegetables among Filipinos in 2015 is only 37 grams and 123 grams per capita per day, respectively, or a total of 160 grams per day.

2021 IYFV calls for the following actions:

  • To raise awareness on how Fruits and Vegetables contribute to improved nutrition, dietary diversity, and health; impact society, economy, and the environment; and contribute to sustainable development;
  • To promote the objectives of the year and encourage its integration in national, regional and global development agendas;
  • To stimulate a global debate around different aspects of the Fruits and Vegetables and their contribution to the SDGs and other relevant global conventions and guidelines.
  • To improve the understanding of how the various aspects of Fruits and Vegetables food systems contribute to society, the economy and environmental sustainability in both developing and developed countries and create evidence based communicational messages;
  • To promote tools and mechanisms for the monitoring and measurement of positive and negative impacts of the different aspects of the IYFV 2021.
  • To promote evidence-based policies, law and regulations, and exchange of good practices that advance and maximize the contribution of Fruits and Vegetables to sustainable development, rural economic growth and livelihoods, food safety and the promotion of diversified, balanced and healthy diets;
  • To encourage integrated and holistic approaches in addressing fruits and vegetable food systems through cross-cutting national policies that contribute to the achievementof SDGs and the targets of relevant global conventions and guidelines;
  • To stimulate public/private sector cooperation and partnerships related to different aspects of the IYFV 2021 including in research;
  • To promote investment in innovation and infrastructure development to promote consumption and sustainable production of Fruits and Vegetables and reduce their losses and waste.
  • To support the formulation and implementation of educational policies and programs (such as school feeding programs, school gardens, urban and peri-urban gardens and roof tops gardens, healthy workplaces, food literacy, community food loss and waste (FLW) education programs) and related educational material to promote the benefits of Fruits and Vegetables production and consumption, its implications on health and nutrition, and other related topics of IYFV 2021;
  • To enhance integration of nutrition education, highlighting the importance of fruits and vegetables, in curricula development in line with the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs;
  • To empower stakeholders, especially women and youth, through knowledge-building and skills development in the production and post-harvest handling, processing, preparation, marketing and consumption of fruits and vegetables. – EMArcinue