Food and Agriculture Organization

FAO Definition and Meaning

FAO, which stands for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations according to AbbreviationFinder, leads international activities aimed at eradicating hunger. By serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all countries come together on an equal footing to negotiate agreements and discuss policies.

FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. The Organization helps developing countries and countries in transition to modernize and improve their agricultural, forestry and fishing activities, in order to ensure good nutrition for all their inhabitants. Since its founding in 1945, FAO has paid particular attention to the development of rural areas, where 70 percent of the world’s poor and hungry population live.


In 1943, representatives of the governments of 44 countries met in Hot Springs, Virginia, in the United States, and pledged to found a permanent organization dedicated to food and agriculture.

In 1945, FAO was established as a specialized agency of the United Nations at the first session of the FAO Conference, held in Quebec, Canada.

In 1951 the FAO Headquarters moved from Washington. United States to Rome, Italy.

Under its motto FIAT PANIS (make bread)



  • 189 states plus the European Union and the Faroe Islands.

Representatives of all members meet every two years at the FAO Conference to review the work done and approve the new budget. The Conference elects a smaller group of 49 countries, called the Council, to serve a rotating period of three years to govern the activities of the Organization. The Conference also elects the Director General to serve a six-year term. The acting General Director is the Brazilian José Graziano da Silva who was selected to occupy this position in June 2011.


FAO is made up of seven departments:

  1. Agriculture and Consumer Protection.
  2. Economic and Social Development.
  3. Fisheries and Aquaculture, Forestry.
  4. Internal Services.
  5. Human Resources and Finance.
  6. Management of Natural Resources and the Environment.
  7. Technical Cooperation.


It leads international activities aimed at eradicating hunger. It provides its services to both developed countries and countries in transition to modernize and improve their agricultural, forestry and fishing activities, in order to ensure good nutrition for all.

FAO carries out programs to raise nutrition and living standards, improve the efficiency of production, processing, marketing and distribution of food and agricultural products from farms, forests and fisheries, promoting the development and improvement of the rural population. This body prepares developing nations to face food emergencies and, if necessary, provides emergency relief.

It promotes investments in agriculture, the improvement of agricultural production, the raising of livestock and the transfer of technology to developing countries. It also encourages the conservation of natural resources by stimulating the development of fishing, fish farming and renewable energy sources.

Main areas of activity

  • Offer information. FAO functions as a Knowledge Network that uses the experience of its staff in agronomists, forestry engineers, fisheries, livestock and nutrition experts, social scientists, economists, statisticians and other professionals to collect, analyze and disseminate information that contributes to development.. FAO site on the Internet receives monthly one million queries or technical documents on the activities that the Organization carried out with farmers. FAO also publishes hundreds of newsletters, reports and books, distributes several magazines, produces numerous CD-ROMs and holds dozens of electronic Forums.
  • Share policy expertise. FAO puts its long-standing experience at the service of countries in the development of agricultural policies, as well as in helping to react to effective laws and to design national strategies in order to achieve the goals of rural development and poverty reduction.
  • Offer a meeting place for the countries. Dozens of policy makers and experts from all countries gather at FAO headquarters, or in its offices around the world, on any occasion to forge agreements on major food and agriculture issues. FAO, in its position as a neutral forum, offers the conditions for rich and poor countries to come together to reach agreements.
  • Bring knowledge to the field. The scope of FAO’s knowledge is tested in thousands of field projects around the world. FAO mobilizes and manages millions of dollars provided by industrialized countries, development banks and other sources to ensure that projects serve their purpose. FAO provides the technical expertise and, in some cases, a limited source of funding. In crisis situations they work together with the World Food Program and other humanitarian agencies to protect rural livelihoods and help people rebuild their lives.

Collaboration projects with Cuba

  • Assistance to prepare the Strategy for the development and use of coconut in Cuba
  • Assistance for the formulation of a cooperation program that contributes to the implementation of sustainable bovine milk production systems in the eastern region of Cuba
  • Support for strengthening the National Potato Genetic Improvement Program and national seed production.
  • Technical advice and training on risks in food.
  • Formulation of a project for the strengthening and modernization of the diagnostic service facilities of the Central Plant Quarantine Laboratory of the National Center for Plant Health of the Ministry of Agriculture in Cuba.
  • Assistance for the implementation of conservation agriculture in peri-urban production.
  • Assistance to strengthen the system for the detection, follow-up, monitoring and evaluation of forest fires in Cuba.
  • Preparation and presentation of an action plan for food production based on the assistance received.
  • Optimization of the agroindustrial chain of spirulina for human consumption.
  • Application and development of agricultural drainage in Cuba.
  • Assistance for the design and / or strengthening of food safety policies for the countries of the region.
  • Strengthening of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) prevention system and the adoption of good practices in animal nutrition.

Food and Agriculture Organization

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