FAO Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division

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The FAO Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division is a department of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries "advocates and supports the development of entrepreneurship in agricultural support services."[1]

"FAO members are assisted with appropriate policies, strategies and methodologies for strengthening agricultural support systems and the delivery of services as well as technologies for production and post-production activities. The Division aims to assist farms and agribusinesses in developing managerial and technical skills for supporting production, post-harvest, infrastructural, marketing and financial operations related to developing and improving efficiency, effectiveness, competitiveness, and profitability of agricultural and food enterprises."[2]


The Division works in 4 groups: Agribusiness and Finance Group, Agro-food Industries Group, Market Linkages and Value Chains Group, and Agricultural Machinery and Infrastructure Unit.[3]

Agribusiness and Finance Group

"The group provides technical guidance and supports policy and institutional responses of FAO member countries to the challenges of agribusiness development, farm commercialization and rural financial systems. It serves as the global reference unit within FAO for knowledge on agribusiness, rural financial systems and farm commercialization. It generates, assembles, and provides information on trends relating to the growth of these sectors, and on policy, regulatory and institutional issues impacting on their development.
"Key areas of support
  • Agribusiness development strategies and plans to foster economic growth through sustainable and inclusive agricultural development;
  • Strengthening the organizational role and effectiveness of ministries of agriculture in the development of agribusiness, rural financial systems and farm commercialization
  • Policies and regulatory frameworks to support agribusiness development, including relevant aspects of commerce;
  • Rural financial systems, facilities, mechanisms and technologies to support agribusiness development and farm commercialization;
  • Public sector and complementary inter-professional mechanisms for agro-enterprises
  • Appropriate conditions and approaches for the commercialization of farming in order to enhance productivity and competitiveness, create rural employment opportunities and contribute to economic growth."[4]

Agro-food Industries Group

"The Agro-Food Industries Group reinforces the capacity of public sector to work with the private sector to develop competitive agro-food industries and augment their contribution to increased productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural sector and rural development through value addition and increased employment. The Group serves as the global reference unit within FAO for knowledge on agro-food industries and value addition. It generates, assembles and provides data and information on the agro-food industry trends and value addition, including diagnostic analysis and benchmarking.
"Key areas of support
  • Appraisal of opportunities to improve value addition and profitability, including potential of agro-food processing technologies and systems;
  • Design, selection, operation and management of post-production facilities and services, including investment planning and appraisal;
  • Strategies and practices to foster product, process and services innovation in order to increase value addition, and develop new and differentiated products;
  • Improvements in agro-food industry technical and operational efficiency, including through logistics, supply chain management, packaging, traceability and cold stores;
  • Food industry quality management systems and technologies, GHP, GMP and HACCP systems;
  • Best practices and cost-effective technologies for small and medium-scale agro-processing enterprises for the handling, processing, preserving, transporting, and marketing of food and other agricultural products;
  • SME managerial, marketing, financial management and entrepreneurial skills."[4]

Market Linkages and Value Chains Group

"The Market Linkages and Value Chains Group reinforces public sector capacity to work with the private sector and civil society organizations in order to develop value chains for primary (raw materials) and fresh products, with particular attention to strengthening farmermarket-agribusiness linkages.
"The Group serves as the global reference unit within FAO for knowledge on market linkages and value chains in the agricultural sector. It assembles and provides data and information on organizational, managerial and logistical issues impacting on value chain performance, and on approaches for strengthening market linkages and value chain coordination.
"Key areas of support
  • Value chain analysis, including appraisal of market opportunities for fresh and primary products and assessment of intervention options for improving value chain coordination and performance;
  • Post-harvest operations and technologies for the storage, cleaning, grading, sorting, handling, packaging, transporting, and marketing of fresh products and raw materials
  • Technologies to preserve fresh product quality and reduce losses along the supply chains, including cold stores and cold chains;
  • Traceability and certification systems and technologies for fresh and primary products Marketing and business and input supply services for agroenterprises, including SMEs, exporters, retailers, etc;
  • Managerial and marketing management and entrepreneurial skills of producers, producer organizations and traders;
  • Contractual arrangements in value chains, with particular attention to contract farming."[4]

Agricultural Machinery and Infrastructure Unit

"The Agricultural Machinery and Infrastructure Unit reinforces FAO and public sector capacity to make sound decisions with respect to procurement of and investments in agricultural sector-related machinery, equipment and infrastructure.

The Unit serves as global reference within FAO for knowledge on agricultural machinery, implements and equipment specifications and standards, as well as agricultural related infrastructure facilities and services. It assembles and provides data and information in these areas and on best engineering practices.

"Key areas of support
  • Advocating and promoting sustainable agricultural mechanization and rural infrastructure provision;
  • Investment appraisal and capacity for planning, developing and maintaining agricultural sector related infrastructure and services;
  • Mobilization of technical expertise to develop rural infrastructure and services needed for the development of agro-food industries and value chains;
  • Standard specifications and clearances for agricultural machinery, implements and equipment and supporting services for FAO projects and programmes;
  • Evaluation of bids for the supply of goods and services, technical clearance of such bids and work undertaken;
  • Liaison with UNIDO and other technical agencies on all matters related to agricultural engineering inputs, facilities and services."[4]


"In addition to work carried out under the Regular Programme, the Division identifies, designs and implements projects through the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) and through multilateral agreements with donors providing extra-budgetary funding."[5]

Projects include:[6]

  • Commercialization of the cassava sub-sector, Malawi and Zambia, Jan 2010 - Dec 2011. Objective: "Development of industrial markets for value added cassava products that will enhance incomes, employment and livelihoods of smallholder farmers and small scale processors."
  • Development of rapid tools for conducting post-harvest loss assessments, Malawi, Sep 2009 - Apr 2011. Objective: "Gain a more reliable and accurate estimate of post-harvest losses in the maize supply chain to inform the calculation of the national food gap."
  • Community based warehouse receipts system, Malawi, May 2010 - Dec 2011. Objective: "Enable communities to profitably store and market grain surpluses to enhance their incomes and livelihoods."
  • Strategy for improving the rice post-harvest system in Indonesia, Indonesia, May 2009 - Mar 2011. Objective: "To increase the efficiency of the rice post-harvest sector through improving operations such as handling, drying, storage and processing, as well as building capacity of the key actors i.e. farmers and extension workers in the sector."
  • Improvement of storage facilities and post harvest, handling and storage practices, in Bay Region of Southern Somalia, Somalia, Dec 2008 - Dec 2010. Objective: "To reduce food insecurity by strengthening of livelihoods at household level, through reduction of grain post-harvest and storage losses."
  • Support à la valorisation des produits du cajou et renforcement des capacités nationales de coordination des activités agricoles, Guinea Bissau, Mar 2010 - Aug 2011. Objective: "To improve food security of households affected by the crisis in cashew marketing and rising prices of agricultural products."
  • Strengthening Production and Marketing of Lebanese Agricultural Products - Main Phase, Lebanon, 01 Nov 2009 - 31 Oct 2012. Objective: "To strengthen MoA concerned technical departments and other related institutions through the improvement of the skills of their technical staff and modernization of the regulatory and operational framework."
  • Improvement of food security in cross-border districts of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, in support of the modernization of agriculture under NEPAD framework, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, 01 May 2006 - 15 Jun 2013. Objective: "Increased incomes and living standards of the small rural householders in the cross-border districts of Burundi (Ngozi and Kayanza), Rwanda (Humure, Nyagatare and Butare), and Uganda (Kabale, Kisoro), through more profitable crop system and increased market access."
  • Projet de construction des magasins de stockage céréalier, Cameroon, 01 Sep 2008 - 31 Dec 2010. Objective: "To re-invigorate the Office Céréalier by strengthening its capacity in management and protection of stocks, financial management and accounting as well as management of equipment pool and logistics operations."
  • Sericulture sector study in Georgia, Georgia, 19 May 2009 - 31 Dec 2010. Objective: "To undertake an in-depth analysis to assess the technical and socio-economic potential of revival of the sericulture sector in Georgia."

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Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries, Accessed October 28, 2011.
  2. Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries, Accessed October 28, 2011.
  3. Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries, Accessed October 28, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Groups, Accessed October 28, 2011.
  5. Projects, Accessed October 28, 2011.
  6. Projects, Accessed October 28, 2011.

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