Korea JoongAng Daily Opinion Column of the Chilean Ambassador to South Korea, Gloria Cid.
The year 2021 was declared by the United Nations as the "International Year of Fruits and Vegetables," with the support of the entire international community, through which it seeks to achieve the following objectives: Raising awareness and guidance regarding the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption on people's health; promoting healthy and balanced diets and lifestyles through fruit and vegetable consumption; raising awareness on losses and waste in fruit and vegetable food systems; sharing experiences and good practices on sustainable consumption and production, sustainability in storage procedures; integration of small farmers; strengthening the capacity of countries to adopt innovative approaches and technologies.
Chile has been one of the main promoters of this global initiative, due to the global increase in the obesity rate and the low consumption of fruits and vegetables in the world. A WHO study found that, in 52 countries, an average of 77.6 percent of men and 78.4 percent of women do not meet the recommended daily consumption.
Disseminating the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption on people's health, as well as avoiding the waste of these foods and sharing experiences and good consumption and production practices, are of cross-cutting importance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established in 2015 by the international community. The need for a healthy diet is essential for the well-being of the population since fruits and vegetables help children's growth and development, favor the immune system, contribute to lengthening life, improve mental health, and their consumption is associated with a lower risk of obesity.
Chile has been collaborating with the world for many years by providing high quality and safe fruits and vegetables to global markets, which promote balanced, diversified, and healthy diets and lifestyles for people of all ages, including its exports of fresh fruit to Korea, Chile's fifth-largest market in the world.
Chile is currently Korea's leading supplier of grapes and blueberries, and the second-largest supplier of cherries, lemons, kiwis, and avocados. Chile exports between 3-4 kilograms of Chilean fruit per Korean family, a volume that has increased since 2004, when the FTA between Chile and Korea came into force.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for a healthy diet is essential for the well-being and health of the population. In 2021, Chile will promote instances of dialogue throughout the international community, with the participation of experts from around the world, in order to generate guidelines and recommendations to countries, through messages, public policies, and initiatives to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables in the world.
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