Food and Agriculture Organization

The Food and Agriculture Organization was founded in October 1945 with a mandate to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve agricultural productivity, and to better the condition of rural populations.

Today, FAO is the largest autonomous agency within the United Nations system with 174 Member Nations plus the EC (Member Organization) and more than 1 500 professional staff. The Organization's 2000-2001 biennial budget is set at $650 million and FAO-assisted projects attract more than $3 000 million per year from donor agencies and governments for investment in agricultural and rural development projects.

Since its inception, FAO has worked to alleviate poverty and hunger by promoting agricultural development, improved nutrition and the pursuit of food security - the access of all people at all times to the food they need for an active and healt hy life. The Organization offers direct development assistance, collects, analyses and disseminates information, provides policy and planning advice to governments and acts as an international forum for debate on food and agriculture issues.

FAO is active in land and water development, plant and animal production, forestry, fisheries, economic and social policy, investment, nutrition, food standards and commodities and trade. It also plays a major role in dealing with food and agricultural emergencies. It produces and manages the global statistical database on agriculture, forestry, fisheries and a variety of related natural resources. A specific priority of the Organization is encouraging sustainable agriculture and rural development, a long-term strategy for the conservation and management of natural resources.

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