Focus on FRESH Initiative

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    15.12.23

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Warm greetings to the CGIAR community. 
 
As those who know me and have seen my blog can attest, I love talking about our science and meeting people involved in our research Initiatives. 
 
It was a sincere pleasure to speak with colleagues involved in the FRESH Initiative, while at the WorldVeg 50th anniversary celebrations. I was able to hear from Deanna Olney, Unit Director, Nutrition, Diets and Health, IFPRI and Lead, CGIAR FRESH Initiative; Wiston Mwombeki, Tanzania FRESH Country Coordinator, World Vegetable Center, Eastern and Southern Africa; and Irene Mitchodigni, Benin FRESH Country Coordinator, World Vegetable Center, West and Central Africa-Coastal and Humid Regions. 
 
They shared their important work promoting FRuit and vEgetables for Sustainable Healthy diets, taking an end-to-end approach to address the problem of low uptake of fruits and vegetables worldwide. FRESH is currently active in Africa, in Benin and Tanzania, as well as two countries in Asia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. 
 
I asked which CGIAR Centers are involved and what they each bring to FRESH. Deanna explained that IFPRI co-leads the Initiative together with World Vegetable Center; CIMMYT brings expertise in vegetable production and how to intensify and diversity production systems; IWMI brings their expertise in water technologies as well as hosting the Country Coordinator in Sri Lanka; CIP contributes expertise in nutrition in East Africa, bringing nutritionists from Kenya and Uganda to support FRESH activities in Tanzania; the Alliance for Bioversity & CIAT brings proficiency across a range of issues including biodiversity, food environments and nutrition, as well as their presence in Southeast Asia and Africa. 
 
One CGIAR in action once again!
 
When I asked Wiston what I would see if I went to Tanzania today and looked for FRESH, he related that the Initiative is currently active in two regions in the northern part of Tanzania; and said the first thing I would see would be excited farmers – who have learned about the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables, and also seed technologies, bringing disease-resistant and climate change-resistant seeds. 
 
What does Irene want the world to know about FRESH in Benin? She shared that if we came to Benin, she would show us farmers in two hubs in the south of the country, engaged in good agricultural practices for intensification and diversification, thanks to FRESH. Irene also highlighted stakeholder engagement, encompassing all the actors involved in the fruits and vegetables value chain. 
 
I say, Well done to One CGIAR! Well done to WorldVeg on its 50th anniversary! Through partnerships, we will make the world food and nutrition secure. 
 
Be well, and thanks for watching.

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