FAO’s basic aim is to create sustainable increases in agricultural productivity, the competitiveness of the products produced, and improvements in the supply and availability of food and other products from the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors. Virtually all FAO activities, and especially field programmes, aim at and contribute to building the supply-side capability of agriculture and making the sector competitive in trade. Three services can be singled out as being most pertinent from the standpoint of FAO: (i) value chain integration; (ii) technology upgrade; and (iii) rural linkages.
Increase agricultural productivity
FAO aims to address the challenge of how to increase agricultural productivity to meet the growing food needs of populations and improve producer incomes. The service is important because it promotes holistic systems approaches which recognize the economic and social - including gender - dimensions related to the transfer and adoption of appropriate technology. The resulting increased productivity can bring about rapid and major increases in production, trade, and producers’ incomes.
The service aims to assist countries in the adoption of appropriate technology to intensify production systems in a sustainable way, and to ensure sufficient supplies of food and agricultural, fisheries and forestry goods and services. Some key components of the service include:
- Monitoring advances in technology, including bio-technology, and analyzing their possibilities for enhancing production systems in member countries;
- Promoting and assisting in the evaluation of promising techniques for the intensification and diversification of crops, livestock, fisheries and forest production systems;
- Encouraging linkages among research and development experts and user organizations within and across regions for problem-solving and opportunity identification; enabling producers to participate in and have access to the results of applied research; and enhancing sustainable production and processing of crop, livestock, fishery and forest products.
While advising on new techniques and promoting applied research, emphasis is placed on enabling producers to increase productivity to levels commonly obtained in field demonstrations using existing techniques. The main beneficiaries include governments, farmers’ organizations, research institutes, etc., in developing countries and countries in transition.
Inputs used include expertise, training, seminars, workshops, conferences, group discussions, technical missions, expert consultations, specialized advice, etc. The services also include the provision of equipment, books, reference materials, etc., where resources are available.
Several FAO departments provide assistance on supply-side capability, and it is difficult to pinpoint a particular focal point. The Technical Department, which is FAO’s operational arm, is the general contact address for information.