UN establishes new dates devoted to food and agriculture

2021 was designated as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, 21 May as International Tea Day and 29 September as International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, according to resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly.

“By highlighting the value of fruits and vegetables, and the damage caused by loss and waste, the UN has taken a decisive step to promote fairer, greener, more efficient food systems,” said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources. “Honouring tea is a fitting tribute to the legions of smallholder farmers who help produce what is the world’s favorite drink, after water itself.”

Maria Helena Semedo

FAO and the World Health Organization recommend that each adult consumes at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis to prevent chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including heart diseases, cancer, diabetes and obesity, as well as to counter micronutrient deficiencies. Advocacy for fresh produce also strengths the role of smallholder and family farmers and fosters broader market options for millions of rural families.

International Tea Day has been celebrated by some countries – notably in South Asia and Tanzania – where tea has been a major commodity and important beverage for some time. The date is meant to acknowledge and promote the herb’s contribution to human health, socialization, rural development and sustainable livelihoods. Tea is a major cash crop for millions of families in developing countries and its industry provides jobs in remote and economically disadvantaged areas.

For the end of waste

The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste can contribute to sustainable development. According to FAO, food loss and waste have a direct impact on food security and climate change. An estimated 14 percent of the world’s food is lost along the chain from the point of harvest to the retail level, and likely, even more, is wasted later.