What is the Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO)

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is an agency of the United Nations (UN). The FAO works on international efforts to defeat hunger and improve local economies by helping member countries modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices.

Serving 194 Member Nations, two associate members, and the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also aims to be a neutral forum where nations can negotiate agreements and debate policy.

Its headquarters are in Rome, Italy, and it has offices in 130 countries, employing over 3200 staff members.

BREAKING DOWN Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO)

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a neutral intergovernmental organization, established by the United Nations in 1945. The organization strives to provide information and support sustainable agriculture through legislation and national strategies, with a goal of alleviating hunger. FAO works to promote public-private partnerships, improve smallholder agriculture, and develop mechanisms to monitor, reduce, and warn about hazards to the food chain. Funding comes from industrialized countries, development banks and other sources.

 FAO is composed of seven departments.

  1. Agriculture and Consumer Protection department promotes agriculture to eradicate human poverty while also protecting the environment and ensuring safe food practices and standards.
  2. Climate, Biodiversity, Land, and Water department promotes sustainable management practices for land, soils, energy, water, biodiversity and genetic resources.
  3. Corporate Services, Human Resources, and Finance department support the entire FAO organization.
  4. Economic and Social Development department promotes economic development through internal production and for trade.
  5. Fisheries and Aquaculture department promotes management of aquaculture and fishing.
  6. Forestry department promotes management of resources through forestry.
  7. Technical Cooperation department supports member countries in their programs and responds to food and agriculture threats and crises. 

Projects of the Food and Agriculture Organization 

The Food and Agriculture Organization strives to scaffold member countries to become independent in providing food to their residents while also producing enough agricultural products to become active trade partners with other countries to produce revenue. Focusing on the types of food production that are suitable and prevalent for each country, the FAO works within local cultures with local staff to improve existing practices while leaving local economies intact.

Rather than providing food to countries suffering from famine, the FAO strives to set up sustainable food sources in those countries. For example, after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti left the country in shambles, the FAO quickly launched a series of initiatives designed to keep domestic food production and farm incomes up. Among these was the Haiti Food Security Emergency Tool, which aggregated data on usable roads, crop calendars, land use, livelihood zones and damage information to help improve food production and distribution in the ravaged country.