As economic reforms in the 1990s shifted land ownership into the hands of private smallholders, family farmers became the predominant source of agricultural production in the region. To address the absence of well-developed institutional support, FAO is implementing a Regional Initiative on Empowering Smallholders and Family Farms for Improved Rural Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction.
As countries seek to expand local trade, increase political and economic ties to the European Union or join the World Trade Organization, they must integrate their trade systems with new markets and comply with new standards. Regional and global integration is imperative as the region becomes an increasingly important supplier of agricultural goods to international markets. This initiative helps countries understand trade implications, implement trade policy and engage in trade agreements.
Stories from the field
The people of Kosovo will get to know their forests a little more intimately, thanks to the release of three public service ads now airing on national television. The ads are part of an effort by FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development to draw attention to the alarming trend of forest degradation afflicting the country.
Stopping the spread of African swine fever in Eastern Europe is no easy task, but innovative prevention efforts introduced by FAO and SAFOSO, a consultancy and capacity-building firm based in Switzerland, are beginning to have an impact.
Aquaculture has great potential in the Western Balkans, for three reasons: vast expanses of high-quality water resources, close proximity to large markets in the European Union, and skilled yet inexpensive labour. A two-year FAO project concluding this week helped five countries develop their capacity to meet international standards for trade in live fish and other aquatic animals.