La FAO en Amérique latine et aux Caraïbes

Regional Launch of the Global Initiative for the Development of Special Agricultural Products: “One Country One Priority Product” (OCOP)



In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is promoting the Global Initiative “One Country, One Priority Product”. Currently, 11 countries in the region are part of the initiative (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile).

The Global Initiative "One Country One Priority Product" aims to face global, regional and local challenges, developing sustainable, inclusive, efficient and innovative value chains. Contributing with this to comply with the four axes of the FAO: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.

Agricultural production systems encompassing crop, forestry, livestock, aquaculture and fisheries production, play an essential role in meeting the increasing demands for food, feed, fibre and fuel. It is estimated that by 2050 food production will have to increase by over 50 percent to meet the projected demands from a growing population, diet shifts, and increasing biofuel use. Crop production is the foundation for agriculture as it accounts for over 80 percent of the calories in human diets; it is estimated that 80 percent of the projected additional food demand by 2050 will need to come from plant products. Forests are not only a source of timber, but non-wood forest products equally play a key role in food production, in providing habitat for biodiversity, as well as watershed management, and the provision of ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration and pollination services. Livestock production contributes 18 percent of the global food energy and 34 percent of protein consumption, and provides essential vitamins and various bioactive compounds. Fish and other aquatic products are recognized as a valuable component of a balanced diet, providing proteins and essential micronutrients especially for the poor and vulnerable, and contributing to long life expectancy.

Achieving an environmentally sustainable increase of production and access to affordable healthy diets, while protecting and enhancing the livelihoods of the world’s small-scale agricultural producers and other agrifood system actors, is a global challenge. Moreover, agricultural production systems still lack integration, optimization, diversification and innovation, while relying on the intensive use of chemical inputs and of natural resources. Additionally, global food supplies today rely increasingly on just a few crops and animal species, increasing the vulnerability to biotic stresses.

In response to the current and emerging challenges, FAO developed a Strategic Framework for 2022-31 endorsed by the 42nd Session of FAO Conference in June 2021. This framework aims at supporting the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment anda better life, leaving no one behind. It serves as a guiding principle and an innovative business model for FAO support to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. In this context, a Global Action on Green Development of Special Agricultural Products: One Country One Priority Product (hereafter “OCOP”) has been developed.

Green Agriculture is a key approach for sustainable development in the context of the current global challenges. Green agriculture aims to  reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increases resilience, ensure food security and nutrition, higher incomes for small-scale producers, improve human welfare, create opportunities for employment and decent work for all, without depleting natural resources, while maintaining the healthy functioning of the earth's ecosystems now and in the future. It employs agricultural practices, technologies and innovations, such as Climate Smart Agriculture, biotechnology, agroecological approaches, sustainable forestry, aquaculture, fisheries, soil management, disaster risk prevention and management, and others.

Special Agricultural Products (SAPs) are agricultural products with unique qualities and special characteristics associated with geographical locations, farming practices and cultural heritages. Compared to staple food crops, SAPs have not yet fully benefited from agricultural and rural development programmes. They are important examples of agricultural products which contribute to ensuring food security and healthy diets, supporting a sustainable bioeconomy and improving farmers’ livelihoods and economic growth, while protecting the environment and biodiversity. SAPs include all kinds of agricultural products, with the potential of integration into mainstream and high value domestic and international value chains and markets. SAPs are closely related, but not limited to, to products featuring Geographical Indication (GI), which is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are attributed to the place of origin. The specific qualities involved are the result of local natural or human factors. GIs are protected by intellectual property rights.

The green development of SAPs aligns closely with FAO’s mandate and comparative advantage, including its expertise in key areas for the OCOP, and its capacity to strengthen linkages between national development strategies and initiatives and regional policies by fostering dialogue with relevant stakeholders. Further, FAO offers a wide network of country and regional offices, institutional and technical capacity, and close linkages with other relevant UN agencies and FAO programmes and initiatives, which will increase synergies and support to the OCOP.


In order to promote inclusive, profitable and environmentally sustainable agrifood systems through the green development of SAPs, the OCOP will address five major global challenges including: i) increase productivity and ensure access to affordable healthy diets; ii) reduce crop and food loss; iii) save water and optimize land use; iv) minimize agricultural chemical inputs; and v) mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

There are signs of yield stagnation in the world’s major cereal crops, including maize, rice and wheat, with annual yield increases of about one percent, which is insufficient to double the food production by 2050. Furthermore, low agricultural productivity and inefficient food supply chains, together with climate shocks, are pushing up the cost of healthy diets making them unaffordable for 3 billion people globally. Adding to this, depending on commodity and geographical region, about one-third of food produced in the world for human consumption is every year lost and/or wasted, during the postharvest, retail and consumption stages. Deforestation, largely caused by extensive agriculture production, contributes significantly to the loss of biodiversity, and since 1990 a net area of 178 million ha forest area has been lost.

Around 1.2 billion people live in agricultural areas, which are experiencing very high levels of water stress and drought frequency, and agriculture is by far the largest water user accounting for more than 70 percent of global withdrawals of water, followed by industry and municipalities. During the last 40 years the world has lost a third of its arable land area, partly due to unsustainable agricultural practices and misuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Today about 33 percent of arable land is moderately to highly degraded owing to soil erosion, acidification, salinization, compaction and chemical pollution.

The use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and plastics has continued to increase, negatively affecting soil microbial functions, contributing to water pollution and with serious implications for human health. Agrifood systems also contribute to climate change and, at the same time, suffers the consequences of climate change. About 21-37 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are directly caused by the food system. Hence, mitigation and adaptation measures need to address the creation of long-term sustainable and resilient agricultural systems.

To address these challenges at global, regional and local levels, the OCOP aims to i) facilitatethe development of sustainable and inclusive value chains for family farming and smallholders; ii) support  Members through implementation of the Country Programming Frameworks; iii) strengthenthe implementation of FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31; and iv) contributeto achieving the UN SDGsfor the 2030 Agenda.

In placing the production and distribution/marketing models of smallholders and family farming at the centre of interventions, OCOP will help countries leverage their unique potential and identify SAPs adapted to their agroecological production systems and national or cultural heritage, ensuring improved access to stable markets, and act as a key entry point for reaching their defined priorities. This will contribute towards the Programme Priority Areas of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31, and its four betters aspirations, including better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life (BL1 and BL2), and the related SDGs, SDG1, SDG2 and SDG 10, as well as SDG3, SDG5, SDG 6, SDG12, SDG13, and SDG15.