FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

FAO Regional Initiative

As a result of land reforms in the 1990s, Europe and Central Asia is largely a region of smallholders. In some countries, large commercial farms exist side-by-side with many economically unprofitable smallholders. Yet small farms can achieve high levels of productivity and income – through improved organization, intensified and sustainable production, and integration into agrifood chains. With appropriate support, family farms can be a model for achieving sustainable growth, ensuring food security and mitigating rural poverty.
FAO continues push to address land abandonment in North Macedonia

The abandonment of agricultural land in North Macedonia is a pressing concern, with approximately 32 percent of arable agricultural land in the country...

Countries exchange experiences for better production of cattle

Cattle are the most common and widespread species of large ruminant livestock and are raised primarily for their milk, meat, and skin. To help increase...

Knowledge sharing helps reconcile agriculture, rural development, and migration policies

To support agricultural actors maximizing the benefits of migration, while minimizing the costs for migrants and societies in general, specifically...

Experts recommend an integrated approach to develop rural communities

In the countries of Europe and Central Asia, about half of the population lives in rural territories, with those people who produce the food we eat...

LANDNET workshop in Skopje focuses on land consolidation and banking

Sharing regional experiences and best practices on land consolidation, land banking, and land abandonment will be the focus of the 13th international...

Another village benefits from land consolidation in North Macedonia

The qualified majority of the land owners in the village of Logovardi, located in Pelagonija, a region in the south-west of North Macedonia, adopted...

FAO workshop focuses on stronger land markets in Central Asia

The basis of agricultural production is land, and farmers need a properly functioning land market in order to make the most out of this precious asset....

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, FAO upscales support to agricultural and rural development planning

FAO launched a new initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina to help selected local authorities boost agriculture and economic development through local...

In Georgia, FAO and EU spur investments in agriculture through grants

In the last two years, FAO and the European Union (EU) awarded a total amount of circa USD 5.1 million as a matching grant to the agricultural producers...

Enhancing rice production in North Macedonia through land consolidation

Rice is a strategic commodity within Macedonian agriculture production that has the potential for export and additional income for around 3 500 farming...

Europe and Central Asia seek ways to create new opportunities for rural youth

In many places across the globe, rural communities are shrinking. Unemployment and rural poverty are among the key drivers of migration by youth, who...

National action plans to provide a road map for advancing family farming

The process for developing national action plans on family farming in selected countries in Europe and Central Asia has begun with support from the...

Helping women fulfil potential in rural Ukraine can make agriculture sector more efficient

As elsewhere in the world, women in Ukraine represent a large proportion of the agricultural labour force and the majority of food producers, and thus...

Georgia reaches out to agriculture community through first Olympiad competition

A country-wide competition in Georgia that is reaching out to all age groups aims to generate new interest in and knowledge of agriculture. The Olympiad...

Female farmers to improve livelihoods with support of experienced peers

Olga Babayeva, a 52-year-old farmer from Samukh region, in northwestern Azerbaijan, is a well-recognized businesswoman in her community. Apart from...

Integrating social protection and agriculture to improve diets in Kyrgyzstan

Social protection has a critical role to play in reducing poverty, improving food and nutrition security, and stimulating inclusive economic growth...

UN initiative helps farmers in Albania invest in local agricultural production

FAO provides assistance to Albanian farmers through agricultural grants that aim to add value to local agricultural production. The project, financed...

Cutting food waste while improving food security and environment in Ukraine

An average Ukrainian generates 250-300 kilograms of waste per year; and this number is expected to rise. At that, up to 60 percent of solid municipal...

Project promotes agrotourism and digitalization for Albanian smallholder farms

FAO helped to enhance diversification and competitiveness of Albanian smallholders through the promotion of agrotourism and digitalization in the agrifood...

FAO Regional Initiative

Empowering smallholders, family farms and youth

This Regional Initiative uses a complex, multidisciplinary and area-based development approach, tailored to the Europe and Central Asia region. It takes into consideration the region’s heterogeneity and the special challenges it faces.

The overall goal is to address the key problems of rural people by empowering smallholders and family farms to improve their livelihoods. Elimination of rural poverty, improving the resilience of rural populations (with a focus on smallholders) and inclusive growth for rural economies based on sustainable use of natural resources are the basic principles of the Initiative.

The work focuses equally on technical issues (animal health, production, phytosanitary and so forth) and social, economic and environmental aspects. Inclusiveness – with respect to gender and vulnerable groups, for example – is also a key principle.

The Initiative tackles two main areas: (1) policy, institutions and governance, and (2) farms and communities. Priority actions include strengthening governance and policies, building capacities, enhancing participatory approaches, supporting small holders in sustainable production technologies, supporting land consolidation processes, income diversification, and improving smallholder access to markets, rural finance and value chains.

The Initiative aims to achieve the following results:

  • Increased participation of farmers and rural communities in national development;
  • Enhanced sustainable and inclusive growth of rural economies;
  • Improved sustainable management of natural resources.
  • Activities are in the following areas:
  • sustainable management of agricultural land and water resources;
  • intensification of smallholders’ production in a sustainable manner;
  • strengthening the organizations of small producers and family farms;
  • enhancing rural services – such as advisory services and micro-loans.

Results are foreseen mainly in:

  • increased participation of farmers and rural communities in national development;
  • enhanced sustainable and inclusive growth of rural economies; 
  • improved sustainable management of natural resources;
  • dissemination of sustainable agricultural best practices;
  • strengthened governance to support producers and resource managers;
  • enhanced and equitable access by smallholders to productive resources, services, organizations and markets;
  • development of inclusive and efficient agribusinesses and agrifood chains.

Related news and events




Hybrid Event, 14/09/2022

FAO and the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) are organizing a joint sessions during the 2022 FIG Congress with a special focus on the potential for multi-purpose land consolidation in countries of Eastern Europe.   The objective of the session

North Macedonia: MAINLAND project