Horticulture and Diversification

The challenge is both to produce more fruit and vegetables, and to do it sustainably. A sustainable horticultural production system with an ecosystem approach is necessary to cope with an increasingly degraded environment and uncertainties resulting from climate change, while taking into consideration social, political, economic and environmental impacts.

The main purpose is to support the transition from subsistence farming to income-generating agriculture by adding value to products to achieve greater returns for producers, while catalyzing public-private linkages between producers, processors, supply chain actors and government support and regulatory mechanisms.

The aim is to:

Increase the availability of high quality and safe horticultural produce by developing improved crop management practices (e.g. good agricultural practices, integrated production and pest management, integrated soil health management, organic farming) for sustainable and environmentally friendly horticultural crop production systems.

Promote neglected and underutilized horticultural crops within distinct agro-ecological zones which contribute to food and nutrition security and improved livelihoods.

Support knowledge exchange and capacity building through national, regional and international fora, and technical assistance projects.

Programmes and initiatives:

CactusNet. FAO-ICARDA International Technical Cooperation Network on Cactus aims to collect and disseminate information on the collection and utilization of germplasm and developments on new food and carminic acid uses; promote ecological and social benefits of cactus pear; and work with national partners to improve technical capability.

Growing greener cities. FAO’s Programme for Urban and Peri-Urban Horticulture (UPH) helps governments and city administrations to optimize policies, institutional frameworks and support services for UPH, to improve production and marketing systems, and to enhance the horticulture value chain.

Hortivar. FAO’s Horticulture Cultivars Performance database. It is a platform for knowledge exchange and a tool to safeguard, retrieve and exchange information related to horticulture.

PROFAV. FAO/WHO Fruit and Vegetable for Health Initiative aims to improve people’s health – and farmers’ income – by boosting the production, supply and consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Microgardens. FAO’s innovative response to promote the sustainable intensification of commercial market gardening on urban peripheries. It is the intensive cultivation of a wide range of vegetables, roots and tubers, and herbs in small spaces, such as balconies, patios and rooftops. 

Le Réseau africain pour le développement de l'horticulture « RADHORT », en tant que entité intergouvernementale indépendante est l’aboutissement d'un projet de coopération régionale pour le développement des productions horticoles en Afrique mis en œuvre depuis 1988 par la FAO avec un financement du Royaume de Belgique dans le cadre du programme de Coopération FAO-Belgique (GCP/RAF/244/BEL).

Traditional and neglected crops.  Neglected crops, currently underutilized, can play an important role addressing the food and agriculture challenges of the future and should be re-evaluated. Some have good commercial potential and could be an excellent cash crop for a small-scale or family farmer, aimed at the local, regional or international market.

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