Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

An Overview

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to tackle food security, improve nutrition, raise agricultural productivity, and promote sustainable agricultural systems. Established in 1945, FAO has become a vital partner for over 194 member nations in ensuring global food stability and prosperity.

FAO’s Mandate

The FAO’s mandate is to:

  • Combat food insecurity
  • Eradicate malnutrition
  • Increase agricultural productivity and income
  • Improve rural livelihoods
  • Promote agricultural research and technology
  • Improve agricultural policies and institutions
  • Ensure sustainability of agriculture

Key Functions

  • Developing agricultural knowledge and technologies
  • Providing technical assistance to member countries
  • Conducting research and collecting data
  • Facilitating trade in agricultural commodities
  • Promoting food security through emergency operations
  • Supporting rural development and youth empowerment

Structure and Governance

FAO is governed by the Conference of Members, which meets every two years in Rome. The Director-General, currently QU Dongyu, leads the organization and is accountable to the Conference. The FAO Secretariat, headquartered in Rome, coordinates the organization’s day-to-day operations.

Notable Initiatives

FAO has numerous ongoing initiatives to address various challenges in the agricultural sector, including:

  • Transforming agriculture for food security: Promoting sustainable agricultural practices and technologies to enhance food production.
  • Climate-smart agriculture: Fostering climate resilience and reducing agriculture’s environmental impact.
  • Rural youth empowerment: Creating opportunities for young people in rural areas through vocational training and entrepreneurship.
  • Food loss and waste reduction: Developing strategies to reduce food waste throughout the supply chain.

Impact and Achievements

FAO has made significant contributions to addressing food security and nutrition challenges globally. Some notable achievements include:

  • Increased global agricultural productivity by 2.3% per year from 1990 to 2019.
  • Reduced the number of undernourished people by half from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 968 million in 2015.
  • Played a crucial role in emergency responses to food crises and natural disasters.


The FAO plays a crucial role in ensuring global food security and promoting sustainable agriculture. Through its technical assistance, research, and policy recommendations, FAO empowers member nations to address the challenges of food insecurity, malnutrition, and environmental sustainability.


1. What is the FAO’s membership?
FAO has 194 member nations.

2. What is the FAO’s annual budget?
The FAO’s annual budget in 2023 is approximately US$8.4 billion.

3. Where is the FAO headquartered?
The FAO Secretariat is headquartered in Rome, Italy.

4. What are the FAO’s key functions?
The FAO’s key functions include developing agricultural knowledge, providing technical assistance, conducting research, facilitating trade, and ensuring food security.

5. How does the FAO address climate change?
The FAO promotes climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies to enhance climate resilience and reduce agriculture’s environmental impact.


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