Fresh produce industry fighting to keep up with global challenges
The International Fresh Produce Association has released the state of the industry report for 2022.
The report addresses the many challenges faced by the industry during 2022, including inflation, labor, war, extreme climate events, the pandemic, and lagging in fresh produce consumption.
More than 3 billion people in the world are not able to afford a healthy diet, causing over 11 million deaths related to dietary risk factors.
The report states that: “The World Trade Organization (WTO) forecast estimates world GDP (Gross Domestic Product) will grow by 2.8% in 2022 and 2.3% in 2023. But there is a high degree of uncertainty associated with the forecast due to numerous and interrelated risks, including shifting monetary policy in advanced economies and the unpredictable nature of the Russia-Ukraine war.”
One of the big effects that the war in Ukraine has had is the increase in food prices since both the Russian Federation and Ukraine are major suppliers of grains and fertilizers.
In effect, this has increased food insecurity, especially in low-income countries where households must allocate most of their income to food.
The report lays out different possible ideas or “what if’s” from where the industry could benefit and the consumption of fresh produce could become a priority for nations around the globe.
Produce as a path to prosperity
The report proposes that rather than considering produce as a simple commodity, both developing countries and high-income countries could use trade and production to improve their GDP while increasing widespread awareness of the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Societies investing in a better food future
The idea of decentralizing our food systems and increasing local production across nations is part of the debate with regard to the resilience of our global supply chains.
Especially during this last year, the global supply chain has seen a significant increase in delays due to an increase in container shipping rates.
Focusing local production for local markets could help decrease food insecurities and losses arising from issues in the global supply chain.
Overall, the report emphasized that nutrition security and access to healthy food should be basic human rights.
Making healthy food accessible to everyone is another of the objectives proposed by the report.
IFPA closed the statement with encouraging words for members of the industry: “IFPA is not in this to simply change the game. We are in it to change the world. And together with our member community, the produce industry, and our industry allies, we will.”