Fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of healthy diet — UN Secretary-General

Fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of healthy diet — UN Secretary-General

Moses Kuwema

UN Secretary‑General António Guterres says fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy and varied diet.

In his message Tuesday, during the launch of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021, Secretary-General Guterres said fruits and vegetables provide the human body with an abundance of nutrients, strengthen immune systems and help lower risks for a number of diseases.  

"Yet, despite these tremendous benefits, we do not consume enough of them. By declaring 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, we are taking a closer look at a critical sector and urging the adoption of a more holistic approach to production and consumption that benefits human and environmental health," said Secretary-General Guterres.

He said a key moment in the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables would be the Food Systems Summit where all stakeholders would be called upon, to intensify efforts to make food systems more inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

Guterres said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes the role food systems play in fighting hunger, ending poverty and protecting the planet. 

"Yet, today, rising populations, increased urbanization, the growing scarcity of natural resources, agricultural pollution and land use change, high levels of food loss and waste and the impacts of climate change are all highlighting the fragility of our food systems," he said.

Secretary-General Guterres said as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the health and livelihoods of people across the world, there was need to ensure that nutritious food, including fruits and vegetables, reaches the most vulnerable, and that no one should be left behind.

"Let us use this International Year to rethink our relationship with how we produce and consume food.  Let us re-examine our food systems and commit to a healthier, more resilient and sustainable world where everyone can access and afford the diverse nutrition they need," concluded Secretary-General Guterres.