Despite their importance to the economy of many developing countries, the agro-food industry sub-sectors face a series of challenges that constrain their performance. These include poor infrastructure, low productivity, poor product quality, difficulty in acquiring inputs, lack of regulations and standards and rudimentary technology. FAO assists member countries in the development of appropriate policies, strategies and methodologies for specific agro-food industries. A value chain/systems approach is utilized in evaluating all factors affecting competitiveness of the sub-sectors, such as cost-efficiency, productivity, quality and safety.
FAO has recently published a book, Agro-industries for Development, which highlights the current status and future course for agro-industries and highlights the contributions this sector can make to international development. Chapters written by agro-industry specialists, academic experts and UN technical agencies address the strategies and actions required to improve agro-industrial competitiveness in ways that can create income, generate employment and fight poverty in the developing world.
Current programmes in agro-industries sub-sector development include the following:
Appraisal of prospects and requirements for improved food industry value addition and technical efficiency in specific sub-sectors in Africa.
Reports on agro-industry trends and implications for specific food industry sub-sectors in developing regions and on developing agro-industry strategies
Apiculture and sericulture industries. Apiculture and sericulture provide income generation opportunities for the small scale sector in rural areas. Through field projects FAO supports the sustainable development and competitiveness of sericulture and apiculture industries in a number of countries;
Meat and dairy sub-sector. FAO capitalizes on experiences from innovative countries to develop strategies for meat and dairy industries development.