FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

FAO Regional Priority Programme

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.
From tradition to innovation: FAO report sheds light on the future of small ruminant farming in the Western Balkans

The small ruminant sector is poised for significant change in the Western Balkans, a region deeply rooted in agricultural tradition. The Food and Agriculture...

FAO supports small farmers and rural families affected by the war

The German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Cem Oezdemir and the Italian Minister for Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, hosted a special...

Kosovan farmers rise above the floods

In the agricultural heart of Kosovo1, under the radiant sun, stands Pajazit Thaci. At the age of 81, his face bears the traces of seven decades...

Digital technologies make inroads into rural Uzbekistan and Tajikistan

The Digital Villages Initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is rolling out at full speed in Uzbekistan and...

FAO embraces youth issues in rural areas of Europe and Central Asia

After two days of intense discussions and information sharing, the first Rural Youth Forum for Europe and Central Asia concluded on 30 November. Organized...

Kazakhstan to host dialogue on responsible land governance to support land restoration

Kazakhstan will be the first country to host a national dialogue supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and...

UN advice for better prospects for rural women in Türkiye and Ukraine

Following the evidence-based analysis of gender in the regional response to the war in Ukraine published last year, the Regional Gender Task Force,...

Digital land cadastre launched in Ashgabat

On 6 June 2023, a group of experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) conducted an inception workshop in Ashgabat,...

Integrated rural development improves prosperity in rural communities

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is hosting the third regional workshop of an informal technical network on community...

Digital village hubs can transform quality of life in rural Europe and Central Asia

In 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) launched the global Digital Villages Initiative to promote digital innovations...

New project aims to further land consolidation in North Macedonia

Today is a significant milestone in the development of the agriculture sector in North Macedonia, as one five-year undertaking concludes and another...

Emergency support allows families in the Republic of Moldova to feed their cattle

Nearly 2 000 rural families in the Republic of Moldova are receiving emergency cattle feed through a EUR 2 million project being implemented by the...

Smartphones are boosting gender equality in Georgia and beyond

Nestled in the vast plains of Georgia, in the shadows of the snow-covered Caucasus mountains, Malika Machalikashvili’s farm in Pankisi Gorge was once...

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...

Inclusive junior field schools leave no one behind

In the Republic of Tajikistan, 

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...

This Regional Priority Programme 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 Priority Programme.

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 Priority Programme 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 Priority Programme 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


13/ 12


Virtual Event, 13/12/2023

FAO published the first 'Guidelines for land-use planning' in 1993 as the first key source of knowledge on land use planning. After 30 years, new challenges, demands and insights for integrated land use planning call for an update of these guidelines. In this context, FAO has been working on the new version of 'Guidelines for integrated land use planning - an update' in collaboration with key p...

29/ 11




Budapest (Hungary), Hybrid Event, 29/11/2023 - 30/11/2023

To better coordinate the youth-related work and processes in the ECA region, under the Regional Priority Programme on Empowering smallholders, family farms and youth, facilitating rural livelihoods and poverty reduction, FAO organizes the Regional Rural Youth Forum for Europe and Central Asia.

5/ 9


Virtual Event, 05/09/2023

Join us for the conversation on shaping food waste policy in Europe and Central Asia. Food waste has wide-ranging consequences, impacting resources, the environment, and social equity. At the World Food Forum, we are dedicated to reducing food waste globally. In response to its importance, our Europe and Central Asia team conducted a comprehensive analysis of food waste policy in the region, id...

5/ 9




İstanbul (Türkiye), 05/09/2023 - 07/09/2023

The 14th international LANDNET workshop will take place from 5 to 7 September 2023 in Istanbul, Türkiye, organized by FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Türkiye.

22/ 6




Budapest (Hungary), Hybrid Event, 22/06/2022 - 24/06/2022

Based on country experiences, FAO aims at further developing the concept of integrated community development for Europe and Central Asia. FAO established an informal regional technical network on community development in 2019. The 2022 workshop should help revitalize the technical network and strengthen partnerships with key regional and national actors.

18/ 5


Virtual Event, 18/05/2023

Join us for the “Digital Villages in Action in Europe and Central Asia” virtual event, where we will launch DVI actions in eight countries, bringing together policy actors, stakeholders, partners, and beneficiaries. The event will be held on Zoom on 18 May 2023, from 09.30 to 12.00 (CEST) with English-Russian interpretation.

26/ 4


Virtual Event, 26/04/2023

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) is organizing a series of regional youth consultations on promoting youth engagement in agriculture and food systems in Europe and Central Asia.

Participants will discuss how to enlarge youth engagement in agricultural value chains in the region. The event will consider the benefits and gains that youth can bri...

23/ 1




İstanbul (Türkiye), 23/01/2023 - 25/01/2023

Small-scale family farmers can be instrumental in elevating human rights in the food and agriculture sector – a key element in ensuring the sustainability of food security.

27/ 4




Hybrid Event, 27/04/2022 - 28/04/2022

The workshop will gather representatives of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as experts from the government, academia, civil society, and the private sector to share experience in land market management

6/ 6




Budapest (Hungary), 06/06/2023 - 08/06/2023

Based on country experiences, FAO aims at further developing the concept of integrated community development for Europe and Central Asia. FAO established an informal regional technical network on community development in 2019.

24/ 6


Hybrid Event, 24/06/2022

9:00 – 13:00 CEST In the framework of the 2nd Regional Workshop on integrated community development, FAO is organizing a regional dialogue on the United Nations Decade of Family Farming in Europe and Central Asia in a hybrid modality. The aim of the eve

14/ 9


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