Experts, who came together with the ‘2021 International Year of Fruits and Vegetables’ First Half Evaluation Meeting, said that nearly 50 percent of fruits and vegetables in developed countries are lost during the harvest and consumption process.

Organized in cooperation with Antalya Commodity Exchange (ATB), Antalya Agriculture Council (ATAK), Antalya Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry, the ‘2021 International Year of Fruits and Vegetables First Half Evaluation Meeting’ was held online under the moderation of journalist Galip Umut Özdil.

Umut Özdil

ATB and ATAK President Ali Çandır, Antalya Agriculture and Forestry Provincial Director Gökhan Karaca spoke at the opening of the meeting, United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Turkey Deputy Representative Dr. Ayşegül Selışık, President of the Western Mediterranean Exporters’ Association (BAİB) Ümit Mirza Çavuşoğlu, President of the Turkish Wholesale Traders Federation Yüksel Tavşan and Professor Dr. Orhan Kuruüzüm attended as speakers.

Reminding that the UN declared 2021 as the “Year of Fruits and Vegetables”, Özdil pointed out that 2016 was also declared the “Year of Pulses” and that the production and consumption of pulses increased in that period that created awareness.

Özdil said, “The consumption of pulses increased by 3.84 percent worldwide at that time. We expect an increase in fruit and vegetable production and consumption this year.”

“Healthy, affordable, accessible”

Dr. Ayşegül Selışık, FAO Deputy Representative for Turkey, emphasized the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption for a healthy diet, and said, “The World Health Organization recommends consuming at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables every day. WHO reported that the cause of death of 3.9 million people in 2017 was due to not consuming enough fruits and vegetables. Fruit and vegetable is the basis of our diet. Therefore, it should be produced within the framework of food safety rules, it should be affordable, healthy and accessible.”

“Half of the fruit and vegetables go to waste”

Dr. Selışık noted that while 685 million tons of vegetables were produced worldwide in 2000, 1 billion tons of vegetables were produced in 2018 and fruit production increased from 577 million tons to 868 million tons in the same period.

While drawing attention to food waste, Dr. Selışık explained, “In developed countries, nearly 50 percent of fruits and vegetables are lost during the harvest and consumption process. Especially during the access of fresh vegetables to the market, there are great losses. These losses cause the loss of our limited resources, such as soil and water, which are gradually decreasing.”

“Small businesses produce 80 percent of food”

Indicating that the loss in fruit and vegetables also heightened the greenhouse gas problem, Dr. Selışık added, “We need to manage the risk of climate change well. If loss and waste are prevented, greenhouse gas emissions will also decrease.”

“80 percent of world food production and 50 percent of fruit and vegetable production are produced by small enterprises. So I would like to draw attention to the difficulties faced by small producers in delivering their products to the market. The problems faced by small producers could be solved through cooperatives,” Dr. Selışık concluded…

About İsmail Uğural

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