FAO in India

Programmes and projects

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has enjoyed valuable partnership with India since it began operations in 1948. It continues playing a catalytic role in India’s progress in the areas of crops, livestock, fisheries, food security, and management of natural resources.

The priorities set in the NITI Aayog’s seven year National Development Agenda and the medium term Three Year Action Agenda as well as the Union Budget represent the key overarching framework for the agriculture sector. The main objective of the government is to double farmers’ income by solving the twin problems of maximising efficiency and ensuring equity in a sustainable manner.

 All CPF priority areas identified clearly support smallholders in developing productivity and competitiveness and in improving livelihood and reducing rural poverty for disadvantaged groups. Wherever relevant synergies will be created between the priority areas and the activities being implemented under each priority area.

The five Strategic Objectives through their alignment into Regional Initiatives and Regional Priorities will govern FAO’s support, in addition to the GoI’s priorities and the priorities and outcomes laid out in the UNSDF.

Priority Area 1. Sustainable and improved agricultural productivity and increased farm incomes

Under this priority area, FAO will facilitate adaptation of Farmers Water School (FWS) in Uttar Pradesh on groundwater management to surface irrigation practices to increase crop productivity and improve water-use efficiency.

FAO will replicate learnings from Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS) and Groundwater Governance Pilot in AP to scale up in the IFAD funded AP Drought Mitigation Project to strengthen the adaptive capacity and productivity of agriculture in the rain fed areas across the country.

Furthermore, FAO will provide technical assistance to the states of Nagaland and Mizoram for the IFAD funded FOCUS project in Nagaland and Mizoram for implementation support aimed at productivity enhancement through sustainable farming practices.

FAO will also implement the grant project of IFAD in Odisha and Northeastern states for diversification of livelihoods into sustainable forest based agro-enterprises. Through the GEF funded Green Agriculture project, FAO will work on developing farmer capacities for promotion of value chains of low-input alternative crops linked to adoption of sustainable agricultural and natural resources practices. Furthermore, FAO will provide technical guidance to NRLM to establish efficient and effective institutional platforms of the rural poor that enable them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements.

In addition, FAO will pilot producer prices incentives monitoring and analysis mechanism in six states of the country to improve the evidence basis for agricultural and food policies with a particular focus on smallholder farms. FAO is also conducting a study on improving income of farmers by enhancing and sustain pulses production in the country. 

Priority Area 2. Stronger food and nutrition security systems

Under this priority area, FAO’s technical assistance will focus on providing technical assistance that drive the “Zero Hunger” initiative of FAO. FAO will collaborate with IFAD and WFP in Odisha for pilot projects that promote nutrition-sensitive agricultural practices and positive nutritional behaviours including hygiene and sanitation practices targeted at tribal populations through low cost technology options.

With NRLM FAO will work on reduction of absolute poverty by supporting initiatives that link with other government programs to improve health and nutrition situations of the marginalised population and break the cycle of poverty and malnutrition especially amongst women and children.

FAO will also focus on capacity building in selected regional and national nutrition training institutions/universities to improve capacities to effectively design, implement and monitor nutrition education for behaviour change with a focus on healthy diets. 

Priority Area 3. Effective natural resource management, community development and assistance in transboundary cooperationto global public good

Under this priority area, FAO will implement the GEF funded Green Agriculture project that will provide models for successful landscape approaches to address the interface of biodiversity conservation in and around key protected areas.

FAO will also provide technical assistance to the states of Nagaland and Mizoram for the IFAD funded FOCUS project to assist them in developing smallholder farmers' adaptive capacity to climate change by making jhum cultivation, the predominant mode of production in the two states more sustainable and gender inclusive.

FAO is also providing technical assistance for pilot projects for strengthening Agriculture and Allied Sector Contributions to India’s National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP), 2008 and the National Biodiversity Targets (NBT). Furthermore, under the regional BOBLME project FAO will promote enhanced sustainable livelihoods and diversification for selected coastal communities.

FAO will provide technical assistance for sustained advocacy on combating anti-microbial resistance and implementation of the National Action Plan for AMR that has been submitted by the government to the World Health Assembly of WHO and FAO. FAO will also promote innovative pilot projects on biomass based energy generation for better utilisation of farm based assets and agricultural products.  

Priority Area 4. Enhanced social inclusion, improved skills and employment opportunity in the agriculture sector

Under this priority, FAO will focus on the building capacities and skills of the poor for gainful and sustainable livelihoods through employment generating agribusiness and enterprise clusters and other projects that are being supported under the DAY-NRLM and on grazing-based livestock production that is crucial to the livelihood security of the landless and the socially marginalised.

FAO will provide assistance and build capacity to strengthen agro ecological systems and farmer field school approaches that are currently being practised in various parts of the country with the objective of supporting employment generating agribusiness and enterprise clusters.

FAO will also help in highlighting and generating evidence on the importance of small ruminants and backyard poultry in enhancing overall returns from agriculture and making dryland and highland farming systems more climate resilient and thereby reducing the vulnerability of small and marginal farmers.