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Growing guides in support of International Year of Fruits and Vegetables


The United Nations General Assembly has designated 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV). To support and raise awareness of the value of fruits and vegetables, Teagasc horticulture Development Department are incorporating this theme into its 2021 programme of activities.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends eating a variety of fruits and vegetables that are in season. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important source of fibre and potassium, and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.

Prof Paul Cotter, Head of Teagasc Food Biosciences Department said “plant-based foods and beverages, including fruits and vegetables, are rich sources of dietary polyphenols. Consumption of plant foods is associated with lower risk of chronic diseases including

  • cancer
  • heart diseases
  • type -two diabetes
  • other inflammatory diseases.

A large number of these biological effects are attributed to phytochemical components of plant foods. Moreover, it has been suggested that many of the beneficial impacts of these secondary metabolites on overall health is mediated through the manipulation of gut bacteria in the colon and their transformation therein by the gut bacteria present”.

Speaking about the horticulture sector, Dermot Callaghan, Head of Horticulture Development Department at Teagasc said, “Irish commercial Horticulture has an output value ranked fourth behind dairy, beef and pig meat. It was valued at €477m (farm gate value) in 2019.  

Horticulture Food includes Mushrooms €119m, Potatoes €111m, Field Vegetables €78m, Protected Fruit €43m, Protected Vegetables €34m, Outdoor Fruit €11m and Honey €4m. Fruit and vegetable production is an economically important activity.The health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables are widely reported, and probably undervalued. We all have a responsibility as consumers to ensure the long-term viability of an industry that puts local, fresh, top quality vegetables on the supermarket shelf.  It is essential to show support for locally grown food to ensure shorter supply chains, high product quality and freshness”.

Many consumers are adopting more plant-based diets and some are growing their own fruit and vegetables, taking to their back garden or community allotment in recent times. Spring is the perfect time to start planting fruits and vegetables. While Teagasc have a focus on the professional horticulture sector, Teagasc have recently updated relevant information and useful guides available for the home gardener. This information is available on the Teagasc website here 

Hard copies of A Guide to Vegetable Growing, 9th Edition are available at the cost of €15 euros/copy including postage. Please contact Therese Dempsey, Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow on 059 9183422 for details.