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FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia
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Regional Initiatives

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.

While international trade policy is usually implemented at the border, adherence to food safety and quality standards concerns national food safety systems as well as food safety and quality control at the enterprise level. This means that a supportive policy environment for modern agrifood trade encompasses not only border policies, but also policies and institutions at the national and enterprise level.

Photo: ©FAO/Robert Atanasovski

The impact of climate change can already be felt on food production systems in the region, posing considerable challenges for agricultural production and food security. FAO is helping countries to manage their natural resources sustainably, while also coping with climate change and reducing the risk of disasters affecting agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Stories from the field

Photo: ©FAO/Tornike Turabelidze

FAO, Japan and Turkey have inaugurated a vocational training programme for Syrian refugees and their Turkish host communities in Şanlıurfa and Kilis, where agriculture provides employment opportunities on a large scale.

The project aims at improving participants’ skills and knowledge in high-demand areas of the local agricultural sector. Building on the success of previous efforts in Turkey, the project will help participants – both Syrian refugees and members of their host communities who work or have experience in agriculture – acquire life skills important for self-reliance, such as those related to nutrition, health, communication, and social support.

Photo: ©FAO/Tornike Turabelidze

Kutaisi, Georgia, is home to over 1 000 producers of culinary herbs, and for one day last month it was home to more than 60 industry players who met for an international conference to discuss investment opportunities in the culinary herbs value chain.

Georgia has the ideal climate to produce a great variety of herbs – including dill, mint and parsley – as well as a long-standing growing tradition. Until now, the country’s exports of fresh herbs have been focused on the Russian market, but Georgia has a great opportunity to expand into the global market.

Photo: ©FAO/Oleksandra Shergina

With 1.5 percent of the local population in Ukraine engaged in beekeeping, the country is the top player in Europe for honey production.

Contributing to that production has been the practice of honey hunting, or the plundering of wild honeybee nests to obtain honey and beeswax. During pre-conflict times, it was practiced actively in the eastern regions, but the ongoing military conflict has transformed a large number of natural honey-hunting zones into military areas.