The Food and Agriculture Organization came into being in October 1945, with a view to collecting, analysing, interpreting and disseminating information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture.
The founder nations of FAO expressed the wish to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve production and distribution of agricultural products to secure improvements in the efficiency of the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products, to better the condition of rural population and to contribute towards an expanding world economy.
In 1965, it was decided to add to the FAO’s mission, at the instance of the then Director- General, Dr. B.R. Sen of India, the goal of ensuring humanity’s freedom from hunger.
To help members reach these goals, FAO provides an intelligence service, including not only facts and figures relating to nutrition, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, but also appraisals and forecasts of production, distribution and consumption in these fields; promotes national and international action to improve production, marketing, processing and distribution of the products of agriculture (including fisheries and forestry), conservation of natural resources, and credit and commodity arrangement policies; and furnishes, on request, technical assistance in any of the above fields.
FAO works through a Conference, a Council and a staff. The Conference is the policy-making body, in which each member-State has one vote. Associate members have the right to attend and to take part in the discussions, but without the right to vote.
The Conference normally meets biennially. Between sessions of the Conference, the Council supervises the work of the FAO, reviews the world food and agricultural situation and makes recommendations to member-governments, and to international bodies, on measures to improve the situation. The Council consists of thirty-one member-governments elected by the Conference.