The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched in Europe and Central Asia the Global Action Program for the Development of Specialty Agricultural Products “One Country, One Priority Product”.
This initiative aims to make agriculture and food systems more efficient, inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
Introduced by the FAO Director-General in September 2021, the One Country, One Priority Product program aims to develop green and sustainable production and trade chains to market valuable locally produced agricultural products. The FAO initiative is bringing them to the fore, which should improve food security and nutrition in the world.
At a virtual launch event, representatives from the countries of Europe and Central Asia got acquainted with the initiative, outlined their priorities in the food and agriculture sectors, and discussed opportunities for closer cooperation. The event was attended by representatives of government authorities, development partners, research institutions, civil society and the private sector.
“The One Country One Priority Product initiative aims to optimize production processes, reduce negative environmental impacts and maximize productivity,” said FAO Deputy Director-General Beth Bechdol in her opening remarks. “The initiative brings together traditional knowledge and advances in science, innovation and technology to reshape production and trade chains to integrate specific agricultural products into national, regional and even global markets.”
The focus on specific agricultural products is of strategic importance – FAO is determined to give them the attention they deserve.
“At their core, they are secret treasures with unique qualities and special characteristics that are determined by their geographical location, the sustainable agricultural practices used in their production, or their unique contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage,” says FAO economist Pedro Arias. – These specialty products are often produced, processed and sold by smallholders and marginalized producers, including women. These vulnerable groups have been waiting for such an initiative for a long time. It will help them bring their products to the global market.”
The countries of Europe and Central Asia not only have a rich agricultural heritage, but also production systems that offer great opportunities to transform existing agri-food systems into efficient, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive networks. And the One Country, One Priority Product initiative will help realize the enormous potential of this region.