FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Our work

In their pursuit to ensure an equitable and sustainable future, governments can rely on FAO expertise in food and agriculture. Responding to the needs of Europe and Central Asia, the Organization is offering support in many specific areas.

Agribusiness and agrifood chain development

FAO aims to enhance the functionality of agriculture and food markets at the local, national, and regional levels, enabling agrifood systems to capitalize on emerging market-driven opportunities for socio-economic growth. It provides guidance to governments on policy measures that enhance countries' capacity to implement national standards in alignment with the standards of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, International Plant Protection Convention, and the World Organisation for Animal Health. It promotes special agricultural products through FAO's One Country One Priority Product initiative, with an emphasis on fostering inclusivity, diversification, and value addition, while simultaneously facilitating the development of sustainable food value chains. Examples of such value chains include Geographical Indications, organic certification, and tourist routes which contribute to sustainable agricultural practices and improve nutrition.

Pedro Marcelo Arias
Budapest, Hungary
Food loss and waste reduction

Under the global SAVE FOOD Initiative, FAO in Europe and Central Asia implements a comprehensive food loss and waste reduction programme in the region, aimed to raise awareness about the issue, promote good practices and solutions to it, and facilitate collaboration among the actors along food value chain to advance the progress in reducing food loss and waste through joint efforts and efficient use of resources. The programme also supports the low and middle-income countries in the Region in developing and implementing national strategies and action plans to reduce food loss and waste and advises policymakers and national stakeholders, including public and private sector players, on appropriate interventions and evidence-based solutions. For this, FAO takes a multi-disciplinary and integrated food supply chain approach to ensure that food loss and waste reduction is technically, economically, environmentally, and socially acceptable, feasible and cost-effective. 

Robert van Otterdijk
Agro industry officer
Budapest, Hungary
Tel: +36 1 8141 269

Agricultural trade and markets

The regional office provides information and analysis on trade agreements, including WTO, and market integration in the region. It works to improve regional and national capacities to use the evidence generated, facilitates public dialogue on agri-trade policy issues, and supports the design and implementation of appropriate agricultural policies at country level. This work is central to FAO’s Regional Initiative on Transforming food systems and facilitating market access and integration.



Pedro Marcelo Arias
Budapest, Hungary

Agricultural policy

The overarching policy issue in the Europe and Central Asia region is the transformation of agrifood systems to become more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable.  Agriculture in the region is characterized by smallholder and family farming, ageing rural populations and urbanization, with challenges of ill-defined land rights, land and natural resource degradation, climate change, and water scarcity. Consumers are facing food price inflation in many countries, and food prices continue to rise in local markets, hindering access to nutritious food and creating health problems, especially for poor and vulnerable populations. The region is seeing rapidly rising obesity often coupled with micronutrient deficiencies and undernutrition. The region also includes several landlocked – and even double-landlocked – countries for which issues of agrifood trade policy are salient. Accordingly, the policy work in the region aims to provide FAO member states with evidence-based analysis and policy recommendations on these issues, although the emphasis on particular issues may vary from time to time.


Tamara Nanitashvili
Senior policy officer
Budapest, Hungary

Sumiter Broca
Senior policy officer
Ankara, Türkiye

Agricultural innovation systems, e-agriculture, experience capitalization

FAO helps member countries develop their capacity for innovation. It assists them with policies, frameworks and models for sustainable, safe use of new technological and social innovations, including for biotechnology and biosafety. It enables countries to co-create and share knowledge among all actors – through networks and communities, while focusing on linking agricultural research, education and extension. 

E-agriculture is the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), including digital technologies, in the rural domain – improving access to information so that people whose livelihoods depend on agriculture can make the best possible decisions and use resources sustainably. 

Through experience capitalization, practices can be tailored, improved, adopted, and scaled up by others, leading to a greater organizational visibility and impact.


Daniela Di Gianantonio
Digital agriculture team leader
Budapest, Hungary
Tel.: : + 36 1 8141 266

Animal health and production

FAO helps farmers, government officials and scientists identify solutions to the most pressing problems facing livestock in the region. Development programs are restructuring, modernizing or revitalizing the livestock sector with more sustainable production systems and better veterinary health services. Diagnosing and containing transboundary animal diseases continues to be a top priority, as they can threaten production, food safety and human health.



Eran Raizman
Senior animal health and production officer
Budapest, Hungary
Tel: +36 1 4612 025

Climate change and natural resource management

The long-term viability of the region’s land, water, soil, and biodiversity requires sustainable use of natural resources. FAO urges farmers and policymakers to practice climate-smart agriculture, a blueprint of environmentally-friendly practices and policies that sustainably increase agricultural productivity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As climate change increasingly threatens agriculture, disaster risk reduction plans help farms adapt and improve their resilience to environmental shocks.


Tania Santivanez
Agricultural officer
Budapest, Hungary
Tel: +36 1 8141 240

Jeremy Schlickenrieder
Natural resources officer
Budapest, Hungary

Fisheries and aquaculture

Production of fish and seafood provides the most vulnerable small-scale coastal and riparian communities with livelihoods and food security. Fish is the most highly traded food commodity and international value chains have increased in complexity, resulting in both challenges and opportunities. Through policy guidance and technical assistance, FAO assists governments and other actors with sustainable management of aquatic resources, adoption of international standards for improved fish quality, and development of adaptation strategies for climate change.


Haydar Fersoy
Senior fisheries and aquaculture officer
Ankara, Türkiye

Food safety and consumer protection

Guaranteeing food safety from farm to table is a complex and multi-dimensional effort. The regional office guides member countries as they build quality insurance programs, train food inspectors and strengthen laboratory analysis services. But consumer protection at FAO goes even further than food safety; it strives for a food value chain that promotes good nutrition and sustainable diets.



Mary Kenny
Food safety and consumer protection officer
Budapest, Hungary
Tel: +36 1 8141 251

Forests are one of Europe and Central Asia’s most vast natural resources, and the region’s ability to capitalize on this valuable resource in a sustainable way is vital. FAO partners with member countries on a range of ventures in this sector, from developing national forest management plans to establishing forestry research labs to studying the potential for local wood-based bioenergy industries.



Norbert Winkler-Ráthonyi
Forestry officer
Budapest, Hungary
Tel: +36 4612 006

Peter Pechacek
Forestry officer
Ankara, Türkiye
Tel:  +90 312 307 9533

Women are the pillars of rural economies. Their contribution to agriculture and food security is critical, however, their work is often undervalued. Despite the progress made, many forms of gender-based inequalities persist in the region. Key findings of the recent regional publication, Gender, agriculture and rural development in Europe and Central Asia: Brief overview of regional trends and challenges, point to rural women’s disproportionate workload, often as unpaid family workers, and their severely hindered economic opportunities due to limited access to and control over productive resources such as land, credits, training, agricultural inputs. Guided by the FAO Policy on Gender Equality 2020–2030, the Regional Office is implementing its Gender Action Plan 2023–2026, that strives to mainstream the objectives and principles of gender equality and empowerment of rural women into all FAO’s initiatives. Without gender equality we cannot transform agrifood systems, we cannot ensure food security and we cannot achieve the 2030 Agenda. 


Marianna Bicchieri
Gender officer
Budapest, Hungary

Land and water management

Land degradation and pressure on renewable water resources are among the greatest threats to food security and livelihood improvement in Central Asia. FAO is providing technical assistance and enhancing institutional capacities for sustainable land management to combat land degradation, drought preparedness and management, modernization of irrigation systems, improvement of water use efficiency and crop water productivity. It is also committed to strengthening policy dialogue on the management of transboundary water resources, such as the Aral Sea Basin.



Sara Marjani Zadeh
Water quality officer
Ankara, Türkiye
Tel: +90 312 307 95 00 
Land tenure and rural development

Rural populations need secure access to land and natural resources in order to relieve poverty and promote economic development. FAO supports governments as they reform public administration procedures, streamline land tenure policies and implement land consolidation plans for a more competitive agricultural sector. Initiatives promoting local, traditional agricultural products and agri-tourism further underpin sustainable rural development.



Morten Hartvigsen
Land tenure officer
Budapest, Hungary
Tel: +36 1 4612 250
Plant production and protection

Safeguarding and intensifying crop production is the cornerstone of FAO’s technical assistance in plant production and protection. For strong and healthy crops, the Regional Office helps farmers incorporate innovative techniques, such as conservation agriculture and integrated pest management, into traditional farming practices. Other priorities include preventing and responding to movement of pests in international trade of plants and plant products, transboundary pest outbreaks, as well as mitigating threats from obsolete pesticides.



Viliami Fakava
Agricultural officer
Budapest, Hungary


Crafting smart policies and innovative solutions for the region’s agricultural challenges depends on a strong foundation of agricultural data and statistics. FAO takes agricultural censuses and collects data ranging from production levels to food consumption and expenditures. Sharing regional and country-level statistics helps leaders make informed decisions and has even led member countries to begin developing their own statistical monitoring tools and systems.