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How to Increase the Shelf Life of F&V in Human Nutrition, Food Security and Health?

2021, is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) as per the United Nations General Assembly. As per the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is now a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health.

Chander Mohan

2021, is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) as per the United Nations General Assembly. As per the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is now a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health. 

To improve healthy and sustainable food production through innovation and technology and to reduce food loss and waste, the DG, FAO, QU Dongyu, appealed this while launching the IYVF 2021. 

For raising awareness about the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health in the IYFV 2021, the UN General Assembly in its 74th Session declared the importance of F&V in human life. 

The COVID-19 pandemic had challenged people to find new ways of fighting hunger and malnutrition and the FAO DG further added that the IYFV would highlight the role of digital technologies in improving nutrition and market opportunities. The DG spoke that the initiative as "a unique opportunity to raise global awareness". 

The DG, Qu Dongyu elaborated "In the current health crises we are facing around the world, promoting healthy diets to strengthen our immune systems is especially appropriate". 

The International Year of F&V is an opportunity to improve infrastructure, farming practices thereby supporting small scale farmers, while noting the challenges in improving production and agri-food chains according to the FAO, DG.  

He further emphasized fruits and vegetables were a good way for farmers to create cash crops. 

It was well taken by Professor (Dr) Harmohinder Chawla of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT, D). He informed Krishi Jagran that some time earlier to arrest the Post Harvest losses in the Fruits and Vegetables FruWash was introduced, which was a natural solution from the natural product and by washing the F&V for some time extends the Shelf Life of the Fruits and Vegetables.

Dr H M Chawla, spoke to Krishi Jagran You Tube Channel, let's have the direct version of IIT,Delhi Professor (Dr) H M Chawla, Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x891L4FHr3Y

As the UN has designated 2021 IYFV, Helena Leurent, the Director-General of Consumers International, representing 200 consumer organizations around the world, opined it was critical for consumers to have the right to a fair, safe and sustainable marketplace by actively involving  in how it is shaped in the future. 

There are recommendations of WHO and FAO World Health Organization recommend that each adult consumes at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis as Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals and beneficial phytochemicals to prevent chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity, as well as to counter micronutrient deficiencies. 

There is need to transform and rebalance the way our food is produced and consumed has only been further stressed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The innovations and the developed technologies and the developments applied are of critical importance", as "they can help maintaining safety and quality, increasing the shelf life of fresh produce items and keeping intact by preserving their high nutritional value" as  the FAO,DG  has taken into consideration   the fruits and vegetables sector remains a problem with the considerable consequences. 

More than forty percent of fruits and vegetables are lost in the supply chain between harvest and consumption in the developing countries. 

The aim of strengthening the role of smallholder and family farmers, and fosters broader market options for millions of rural families to supply fresh produce.  

In view of the Gender equity which is also noteworthy the opportunities at that level, as women often play leading roles for their households in both the production and consumption of fruit and vegetables. 

The UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025) and the UN Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF 2019-2028) covers the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021, which also falls within this period . These observances reinforce each other while providing greater visibility to small-scale producers and raise awareness on food security and nutrition. 

Professor (Dr) H M Chawla informed that in the latest scenario, it was observed to take up only citrous fruits at first stage.  In the fruits, the mango is regarded as the “king” of fruits, then citrus fruits sure do form the royal court.  

The sweet and sour flavors provided by citrus fruits as perfect combination making them some of the most favored and sought-after fruits around the world. 

The original species of citrus fruits are only three – mandarin orange, pummelo, and citron. The crop of citrus fruits grown by the farmers in their farms and taking them to the markets are actually products of crossing these original species. The citrus fruits,which   includes the common sweet oranges, lemons, and limes!  

Here are some popular varieties of citrus fruits: 

  • Sweet oranges: Blood orange (Malta), kumquat, navel, caracara 

  • Mandarins: Clementine, tangerine, tangelo, calamondin

  • Limes: Key lime, Persian, kaffir

  • Grapefruit: White, ruby red, oroblanco

  • Lemons: Meyer, eureka

  • Other kinds: Citron, yuzu, ugli, Rangpur, pomelo, Buddha’s hand, kinnow

Oranges and other citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and grapefruits can be stored short-term (up to one week) at room temperature. To enhance  the shelf life (up to 3-4 weeks) of citrus fruits, keep them in a bag in the refrigerator.  

The natural liquid produced by Professor (Dr)H M Chawla shall increase the shelf life of these citrus fruits significantly without refrigeration. 

Professor (Dr) Chawla further emphasized that strengthening the cluster of Sweet lime sellers, Kinnow, and lemon will definitely help the hawkers and sellers of these items. The consumer shall be able to get the fresh produce with extended shelf life. 

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