Agrifood Economics

Areas of work

FAO’s work in agrifood economics is based on economic research and policy analysis to support the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

Through this area of work FAO provides evidence-based support to national, regional and global policy processes and initiatives related to, inter alia, monitoring and analysing food and agricultural policies, agribusiness and value chain development, rural transformation and poverty, food security and nutrition information and analysis, resilience, bioeconomy, and climate-smart agriculture.

The policy research and analysis revolve around five core areas that are relevant, in different degrees, to all the Four Betters of FAO’s Strategic Framework (better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind) and several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Food security and nutrition trends and drivers

Informing decision making on short-and long-term policy responses and investment gaps that need to be overcome to build resilient livelihoods for ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms.

Main activities:

Value chain and agribusiness development

Informing decision making and actors of the food supply chain through identifying economic inefficiencies of value chains and the economic and socio-economic constraints that actors face along them, especially family farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises and prioritizing policy reform and development strategy options and investments for more efficient, inclusive and sustainable value chains.

Main activities:

Resilient rural livelihoods and rural poverty

Mainstreaming in FAO resilience analysis through the Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis (RIMA) and newly-developed indicators of agrifood systems resilience at national level, as well as poverty analysis through the Technical Network on Poverty Analysis (THINK-PA), and developing and using resilience and poverty analysis tools to study rural households and vulnerable populations, including the rural poor and small-scale producers, and generating evidence and advice on policies and interventions for enhancing their participation, as well as their resilience, inclusion and influence in agrifood systems transformation.

Main activities:

Climate change adaptation and mitigation

Supporting economic and social policy reform and climate-smart investments for early action and adaptation and mitigation to increase resilience to climate change, by identifying economic and social effects of climate change and stressors for agricultural development and food security, and providing evidence on the business case for actors and governments to invest and adopt new technologies.

Main activities:

Policy tracking, monitoring and analysis

Informing decision making through stocktaking of existing strategies and policies at country, regional and global levels, tracking their evolution and reading them in the current environmental and socio-economic context by means of a set of macro and sectoral indicators that allow country comparisons. Advising governments on the potential impacts of policy reform options to accelerate inclusive agricultural transformation, through analysis of price incentives and public expenditure, monitoring the level and composition of government support to the food and agricultural sector, and identifying the most cost-effective areas to prioritize investments.

Main activities: