FAO: Concept, Objectives and Foundation

We explain what FAO is, what its objectives are and when it was founded. In addition, his eight departments and criticisms of the organization.

FAO was founded on October 16, 1945.

What is FAO?

Abbreviations FAO correspond to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, from its acronym in English: Food and Agriculture Organization.

It is, logically, a body belonging to the UN specialized in international food production activities, with the primary mission of ending hunger on the planet. Its motto is Fiat panis, that is to say: “Let there be bread” in Latin.

FAO acts internationally as a neutral forum in which to discuss and negotiate matters related to the generation, commercialization and distribution of food in the world, and also provides counseling and support services to developing countries, providing them with the information and technology necessary to modernize agriculture and its forestry and fishing activities, in favor of a better nutrition for its citizens.

This organism was founded on October 16, 1945 (consecrated as World Food Day since 1981), taking up previous ideas regarding the world organization of food production.

In fact, as early as 1905 an international conference had been held in Rome, Italy, leading to the creation of the International Institute of Agriculture, an institution that lasted until World War II. Its tasks were transferred in 1948 to the newly created FAO.

FAO is made up of eight departments:

  • Administration and finance.
  • Agriculture and consumer protection.
  • Economic and social development.
  • Fishing and aquaculture.
  • Forest.
  • Knowledge, Research and Extension.
  • Natural Resource Management and Technical Cooperation.

The headquarters of this body is located in Rome, at the headquarters of the former Italian East Africa Department, but FAO has regional agencies in Ghana, Chile, Thailand, Egypt and Hungary. By 2013, FAO covered some 197 countries: 194 as Member Nations, 1 Member Organization (the European Union) and 2 Associate Members (Faroe Islands and Tokelau).

This organization is part of the United Nations Development Group, created in 1997, and since 2008 it undertook a series of reforms to restructure and modernize itself in the face of the challenges of the new millennium: the so-called world food crisis.

This organism however, it has been heavily criticized in recent decades, due to its inability to meet its own goals established for the end of the 20th century, as well as the bureaucratization of the processes that should precisely speed up the fight against hunger and food inequality.

Many world voices have spoken out against FAO, accusing it of being a waste of money and a very minor actor in the face of the enormous problems of the post-industrial capitalist world.